Provision of Legal Services


The following other bodies also provide legal advice and help:

Citizens' Advice Bureaux
Law Centres
Claims management companies
Community Legal Service Website
Other agencies such as the AA/RAC, trade unions, charities and insurance companies.

Citizens' Advice Bureaux

Staffed by volunteers, including solicitors
Give general advice free to the public
Specialise in social welfare problems and debt, some advising on legal matters
Have a list of solicitors who do government funded work
The Benson Commission (1979) recommended that CABx be staffed by para-legals and have more government funding.

Law Centres

Law Centres offer free legal services, ie advice and sometimes representation.
Common areas of work include housing, welfare, employment and discrimination
They have suffered from a lack of funding and some have been forced to close

Claims management companies

These organisations deal with personal injury cases which are taken-on on the basis of Conditional Fee Agreements (see below)
They advertise widely on television and in newspapers


Lawyers run the following schemes:

A free or fixed fee (up to £25) interview
ALAS, the Law Society's Accident Legal Advice Service, which provides a free initial interview and a helpline to solicitors
Free Representation Units, whereby barristers and solicitors do work pro bono publico (free for the good of the public)
Conditional Fee Agreements (see below for details)

Features of Conditional Fee Agreements:

Agreement between solicitor and client
Used in civil (non-family) cases
Client does not pay solicitor
If client wins, solicitor is paid normal fee plus uplift fee to reflect risk. Uplift fee is payable by losing side as well as award of compensation and insurance premium (see below)
If client loses, solicitor is paid nothing and costs payable to other (winning) side are covered by after-the-event insurance (premium paid by client or solicitor)
Maximum uplift should be no more than 100% of normal fee and not more than 25% of the awarded compensation
Introduced under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. Brought in by the Lord Chancellor for personal injury, insolvency and European Convention on Human Rights cases in 1995
Extended to all civil cases, except family, in 1998