MPs are there to help only with those matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible. MPs are not there to help in private disputes with neighbours, with an employer, with family matters or with companies who have sold faulty goods; nor can they interfere with decisions made by courts.
MPs’ offices should not give out legal advice to constituents, nor should they be involved in Judicial Reviews. You should ask your constituents to seek independent legal advice given by a suitably qualified person with professional liability insurance. Judicial Reviews require specialist advice.
MPs should not write to judges as they may appear as attempts to interfere with legal proceedings.
Law Centres defend the legal rights of people who cannot afford a lawyer. They are specialists working in their local communities to uphold justice and advance equality. There are various Law Centres throughout the country who https://www.lawcentres.org.uk/about-law-centres/law-centres-on-google-maps/alphabetically
LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay and with the not-for-profit organisations that support them. https://www.lawworks.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Bureau: Citizens Advice Bureau (external website)
Their network of independent charities offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. They are independent and totally impartial. They also give advice on consumer rights on their consumer helpline, support witnesses in courts through the Witness Service and give pension guidance to people aged over 50.
In the case of immigration matters, it is against the law to dispense immigration advice unless you are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or a member of an approved professional body such as the Law Society.
- The Law Society if you live in England or Wales
- The Law Society of Scotland
- The Law Society of Northern Ireland
Find an immigration adviser: https://www.gov.uk/find-an-immigration-adviser
The Public Law Project employs specialist lawyers who assist individuals experiencing personal disadvantage, or charities or organisations representing the interests of marginalised or disadvantaged groups. PLP also employs expert academics and researchers.
They may be able to take on individual cases that are referred to them by other lawyers, advisors, MPs or voluntary groups. If they are unable to help, they may be able to signpost you to other lawyers or agencies that can.
Have a look at their page on helping individuals here; https://publiclawproject.org.uk/can-we-help/individuals/
The Public Law Project also gives information on Judicial Reviews here: https://publiclawproject.org.uk/resources/an-introduction-to-judicial-review-2/
The Unity Project supports migrants who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).
Karma Nirvana is a project which supports victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage. https://karmanirvana.org.uk/
See the House of Commons Library Constituency Casework Guides:
- Finding Legal Help: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/legal-help/
- Legal help: where to go and how to pay: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03207/
- Legal advice and employment matters: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn02830/
- Mediation and other alternatives to court
Options for settling civil disputes without the need for a formal court hearing.
- Taking a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights
How to take a complaint forward and what cases the European Court of Human Rights can deal with.
- No win, no fee funding arrangements: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7607/
- House of Commons Guide to Complaints against solicitors and other lawyers:
- Powers of attorney and other decision-making powers: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03898/SN03898.pdf
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid: https://www.apg-legalaid.org/
From the APPG’s website:
“The APPG on Legal Aid provides bespoke training to MPs and their caseworkers on a range of subjects through the House of Commons Library. Studies and research have shown that as a consequence of the LASPO cuts there has been a huge increase in the number and complexity of legal problems that MPs are encountering in their surgeries. Our training is designed specifically with caseworkers in mind and provided by industry experts. To date, we have provided training in the following areas:
- Legal Aid,
- Housing Law,
- Disability and Discrimination Law,
- Employment Law,
- Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and
- Special Education Needs.
Feedback for the courses has been excellent. We have also developed courses in soft skills and interviewing techniques for new casework staff as part of the House of Commons induction process.
For further information about these courses, please check the ACT website.
We also provide briefings for individual MPs and select committees on various areas within legal aid. For further information, please contact Rohini.Teather@lapg.co.uk.”