The Manchester Free Legal Help (MFLH) – Volunteers needed!

  • 14/06/2016

The Manchester Free Legal Help (MFLH) is a support service located at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre. Its aim is to assist people who need legal advice and support but are unable to afford it, or are not entitled to Legal Aid. The impact of legal aid cuts, on both clients and the legal profession is great. MFLH is committed to ensuring that Litigants in Person receive access to justice and it should not be seen as a substitute for Legal Aid funding.

MFLH was set up in September 2014 by The University of Manchester School of Law and is a clinic of and supported by LawWorks. The service offers pro bono legal advice and support by coordinating appointments (face to face or telephone) with a volunteer solicitor/barrister. To assist with and increase the number of available appointments MFLH uniquely brings together a number of volunteers with wide ranging skills from law firms, chambers and three academic institutions (The School of Law at The University Of Manchester, The University of Law and BPP). Students are supervised by solicitors and barristers, giving them the opportunity to connect with the local legal profession, as well as gain valuable skills by actively engaging with clients who are often well in to the litigation process.

The Centre needs volunteer solicitors and barristers to assist in providing free legal advice in different areas of law such as civil litigation, consumer rights, wills and probate, immigration, family, welfare and more. With the help of volunteers the Centre can assist some of the most vulnerable members of the community to access much needed legal advice and support, in the fewest steps necessary, thus saving resources and time.

For firms, involvement with the Centre is a fantastic addition to their corporate social responsibility agenda, which in turn bolsters its reputation amongst potential new clients and employees. For trainees and junior lawyers, the service offers a unique opportunity to access hands on experience interacting with clients in wide ranging areas of law.

The Centre offers volunteers the ability to do pro bono work, help Litigants in Person and support the local community. The Project Coordinator will assess the client needs, take a full referral with all relevant information of their case and link them with the most appropriate pro bono advisor or support service thus making it easier and less time consuming for the volunteers.

For more information and to get involved please call 0161 240 5034 or email [email protected]

MFLH is a sister project of The University of Manchester School of Law Legal Advice Centre (LAC) that has been running for over 17 years. What started as an opportunity for law students to gain clinical education and experience of ‘real life’ clients has grown into a vital community service, advising the Manchester conurbation on a variety of legal issues, including family, employment, housing, and dementia law.

Due to the increase in the number of mental health requests the LAC worked hard to create a sustainable advice and support network for these clients. The Dementia Law Clinic, which has been created in partnership with the charity Making Space, offers free legal assistance to people living with dementia and their families. This Clinic has been hugely successful, and the LAC was recently awarded ‘Best New Student Pro Bono Activity’ at the LawWorks & Attorney-General Awards in London in recognition of the positive impact the work in the Dementia Law arena has had on the local community. In addition, the work done by the LAC was recently awarded Highly Commended in the ‘Inspiring Communities’ category at the University of Manchester Social Responsibility Awards.

The University of Manchester is dedicated to alleviating the detrimental effects of the cuts to legal aid, and through the LAC and MFLH is working to increase access to justice and support the local community through innovative but sustainable free advice services.

MFLH contact details
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0161 240 5034
Twitter: @mancfreelegal

LAC contact details
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0161 275 7976
Twitter: @UoMLAC