New free legal advice service launched in York

Posted on 10 November 2011

A new free legal advice service for the York community will be officially launched next week.

Following a successful pilot scheme, YorLaw – a partnership between the York and District Citizens Advice Bureau, The College of Law, the University of York’s Law School and Aviva Insurance - will be launched on 15 November by the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor David Horton.

This is a unique partnership that will be a first port of call for many who are currently not getting the legal help they need

Richard Grimes, Director of Clinical Programmes at the York Law School

YorLaw is supported by local solicitors from private practice and the pro bono charity LawWorks, and will provide free legal advice on issues ranging from family law to consumer issues to anyone living in the York area.

The launch at the Council Chamber, York Guildhall, from 5 to 7pm will be attended by representatives of local law firms who will hear how they can support the new scheme. Anyone wishing to learn more about YorLaw is welcome to attend.

During the pilot phase, YorLaw has provided advice to more than 30 clients on a range of issues including family, housing, benefits and debt.

George Vickers, Chief Executive of York and District Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “YorLaw will provide free legal help to individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay for it and are unable to access a lawyer’s help.”

Richard Grimes, Director of Clinical Programmes at the York Law School, University of York, added: “This is a unique partnership that will be a first port of call for many who are currently not getting the legal help they need. We expect demand for the service to soar as the Legal Aid cuts really bite. We very much welcome the involvement of lawyers across York and the surrounding area.’’

Clients contacting YorLaw will be put in touch with the most appropriate agency to deal with their query such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, local law firms or other relevant organisations. They will receive a written response to their query and the service is fully supervised and delivered by qualified solicitors.             

The service offered by YorLaw will complement the work of the York Law School Clinic at the University of York, which recently expanded its free legal advice service with the appointment of a trainee solicitor and the involvement of more student advisors.

Currently a team of 80 law students offers advice on issues ranging from problems claiming benefits, to setting up a new business, to difficulties at home, work or school. The York Law School, was recently ranked second among all university law schools by the Sunday Times University Guide 2012.   

Anyone from York and the surrounding area is welcome to contact YorLaw for an appointment for free, confidential advice. For more information contact York and District  Citizens Advice Bureau on 08444 111 444 or visit www.yorkcab.org.uk