Beverley Watkins appears in this month's edition of the Law Society Gazette
Managing Partner, Beverley Watkins, was recently asked to provide comment on the Ministry of Justice's Legal Advice Gateway for an article in the Law Society Gazette. The Legal Advice Gateway is a telephone service which provides advice on debt, discrimination, and Education. It is also the single access point for anyone seeking publicly funded advice on these areas of law.
The article which is entitled News focus: legal advice gateway to nowhere, mainly questions the effectiveness of the service, specifically the lack of referrals for face-to-face advice with local solicitors. It states that:
"According to government figures, the helpline handled more than 111,000 debt cases since 2013; only 456 people were referred for face-to-face advice. On discrimination, the helpline dealt with over 18,000 cases; 16 people were referred for face-to-face advice. In education, the helpline handled over 11,000 cases; 15 people were referred for face-to-face advice."
In the article, Beverley says she has been told that some people’s requests for face-to-face advice have been refused when they went through the gateway. This is especially pertinent in special educational needs cases as clients often require local advice and information. Beverley goes on to say "We primarily work in the south-west. We know the specialist schemes and facilities available for children with severe autism, for example. It’s not just the law but knowing about the local provision. That’s hard to get through the gateway."
To read the full article, click here.
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