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  • CHRISTMAS 2010: We are closed on the 25th, 27th and 28th December and the 1st and 3rd January. On 24th and 31st December we will close at 6:30pm rather than the usual 8pm.

Find a legal adviser in your area

Levels of help

There are two levels of help: general help (including general help with casework) and specialist help.

General help

You should use a general help provider when you want someone to help you identify the major elements of your problem and provide information, advice and help to resolve your basic problems. General help providers are typically citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies.

They will:

  • diagnose your problem;
  • explain the options available to you;
  • help you identify further action you can take;
  • give you basic assistance;
  • fill in forms and draft letters; and
  • contact other organisations for further information if necessary.

Some general-help organisations can also offer casework. This means:

  • they can take action on your behalf;
  • they can put your case to someone else to persuade them to decide in your favour;
  • they can negotiate by telephone, letter, or face to face; and
  • they may provide advocacy services. This means speaking for you at formal proceedings, for example at some tribunals.

Organisations can offer casework in different areas of law – for example, housing or issues affecting older people. You should check the directory to see which organisations offer the type of casework you need.

Please note that these organisations can only represent you at some tribunals. You cannot get legal aid at this level, and you may have to pay some costs. Speak to your adviser to find out more.

Specialist help

You should use a specialist help provider when you want someone to advise you on a complex legal problem and carry out the full range of legal services, including representation. Legal aid helps people who cannot afford representation, as long as they meet certain conditions – see our Charges page for more information. Specialist help providers are typically solicitors, law centres, and some citizens advice bureaux.

What will they do?

  • They will offer advice and legal help on complex matters in specific areas of law; and
  • they can represent you in court, where this is permitted.

Specialist providers advise on different areas of law – for example, housing, debt, immigration and crime. View Areas of Law for full details.

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