Welcome to the City Community Legal Advice Centre.
We are a free, confidential, Lawworks, legal advice service offering advice and information services to members of the public on a wide range of legal issues. We also provide a form filling service for the welfare benefit personal independence payment.
Our Centre is staffed by qualified lawyers and trained law students, all with a central purpose:
Widening access to justice and the profession.
Our online enquiry form is designed for ease of use. Simply fill in the form with your information and we will consider your request for advice.
If you prefer to access our service by phone, please leave a message on our 24-hour answerphone service. We aim to return your call within 48 hours of receiving your message, but this may not always be possible due to the number of calls we receive.
Telephone: 020 7040 5414 (24 hours answerphone)
What we do and what areas of law do we cover?
We are a University Community Legal Advice Centre based at the City Law School, City University which is part of the University of London. At City Community Legal Advice Centre, students, staff and external lawyers volunteer to provide advice and assistance to clients on a variety of legal issues. The service is run by the Director who is an experienced qualified practising solicitor. All students work under the supervision of qualified lawyers.
We offer free legal advice on certain areas of law to people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay. The service is advice only, which means we do not undertake casework or provide representation. We also offer referrals to other services who may be able to assist you if we cannot take your case. Our trained student advisers take details of your case in advance and if it is suited to our service we offer you an appointment with a qualified volunteer lawyer. We cannot take urgent or overly complex cases.
We also operate a form filling service for the welfare benefit personal independence payment. Trained student advisers work under the supervision of a qualified non-practising specialist lawyer to assist clients to make their PIP application.
Examples of the type of legal disputes we can provide assistance with (subject to capacity) are as follows:
- Private family law issues (for example: child contact, divorce, maintenance and domestic violence)
- Employment law disputes (for example: unfair dismissal, unpaid wages, discrimination and bullying at work)
- Housing disputes(for example: advice for tenants on disrepair or disputes with landlords and tenancies) We cannot assist where tenants are facing imminent eviction or homelessness, and do not advise homeowners or landlords.
- Civil Litigation(for example: personal injury, contractual disputes, consumer and small claims)
- Small business issues (for example: formation of a company, data protection, partnership disputes)
- Environmental law (for example: problems with air or light pollution, flooding, planning, biodiversity or contaminated land).
- Personal independence form filling service (we do not undertake appeal work)
- General information (signposting and referrals on areas of law where we cannot offer advice)
Personal Independence Form Filling Service
We offer assistance with form filling for the welfare benefit personal independence payment (PIP). PIP can help with extra living costs if you have both:
- a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
- difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition
You can get PIP even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.
How PIP works
There are 2 parts to PIP:
- a daily living part - if you need help with everyday tasks
- a mobility part - if you need help with getting around
Whether you get one or both parts and how much you get depends on how difficult you find everyday tasks and getting around.
If you might have less than 6 months to live, you’ll automatically get the daily living part. Whether you get the mobility part depends on your needs. Find out how to claim and how much you’ll get if you might have 6 months or less to live.
If you think you might be eligible for the benefit you can check if you are eligible by looking at the following link: Personal Independence Payment (PIP): Eligibility - GOV.UK.
Daily living part
You might get the daily living part of PIP if you need help with:
- eating, drinking or preparing food
- washing, bathing and using the toilet
- dressing and undressing
- reading and communicating
- managing your medicines or treatments
- making decisions about money
- socialising and being around other people
You might get the mobility part of PIP if you need help with:
- working out a route and following it
- physically moving around
- leaving your home
You do not have to have a physical disability to get the mobility part. You might also be eligible if you have difficulty getting around because of a cognitive or mental health condition, like anxiety.
How difficulty with tasks is assessed
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will assess how difficult you find daily living and mobility tasks. For each task they’ll look at:
- whether you can do it safely
- how long it takes you
- how often your condition affects this activity
- whether you need help to do it, from a person or using extra equipment
How to obtain a PIP claim form
To access our service you must first have requested the PIP form which you can obtain by calling one of the numbers below. We cannot make this call for you.
To obtain a PIP claim form you can call the following numbers:
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 917 2222
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
Calling from abroad: +44 191 218 7766
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
Details of our PIP form filling service
Trained student advisers work under the supervision of a qualified non-practising specialist lawyer to assist clients to make their PIP application. Once your form has been finalised by the supervisor we take a copy for our files, and give you the original so that you can send it to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
How we handle your data?
To process your enquiry, the City Community Legal Advice Centre will need to collect some personal information from you to decide whether we help and if there is any conflict of interest. We collect, process, and use your personal information in compliance with data protection laws, if you consent.
Please note that if you do not provide certain personal information, we will not be able to carry out essential checks, and this could mean we cannot help you. We will ask you to agree to your data being stored when we speak to you to book your appointment.
Your files are stored confidentially on our case management system. Your data is handled in accordance with the CityCLAC Privacy Notice.
To access our PIP form filling service:
We take details of your request either by phone or email. There is NO NEED to fill in our online form to get help with your PIP form. Please just call or email us.
Our phone number is 020 7040 5415. The phone line is open Monday to Thursday 10-12pm and 2-4pm.
Clients can email us to request assistance via firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens when you make an enquiry
Firstly, we consider whether your enquiry fits the remit of our service. If it does, trained Student Advisers or City Community Legal Advice Centre staff take details of your case by Zoom or telephone. Please note that you will not receive advice at this point.
The information you provide is then shared with the Director of the Centre (who is a qualified solicitor) and the volunteer lawyer. They consider your case to decide whether we can help. We then confirm your appointment, or we offer you other sources of help.
What happens during the advice session?
A group of students will be present during your appointment to observe the session and assist the volunteer lawyer. You will receive verbal advice about your case based on the information you have provided.
Please note we are unable to consider large quantities of documents, or provide ongoing casework support.
You will receive advice based on the information you provided to our student advisers during the initial triage call. You can also send us 2 or 3 important documents
How do you deal with my personal information?
To process your enquiry, the Legal Advice Centre will need to collect some personal information from you to decide whether we help and if there is any conflict of interest. We collect, process, and use your personal information in compliance with data protection laws, if you consent. Please note that if you do not provide certain personal information, we will not be able to carry out essential checks, and this could mean we cannot help you.
Please read the CityCLAC Privacy Notice for details of how we will deal with the information you provide in this form.
Circumstances where we cannot advise you
There are circumstances where we cannot advise you. These include:
- Where a case is outside the remit of our stated competence. E.g. criminal, debt, immigration, wills and probate
- Where there is a conflict of interest
- Where the case is urgent
- A dispute against the City, University of London, its Governors, employees and students
- Providing representation in court proceedings
When we cannot advise you, our trained Student Advisers will usually provide referral information by email to other sources of help.
What you can expect from the City Community Legal Advice Centre (CityCLAC)
Volunteer lawyers provide legal advice over the phone, and a short summary of your advice is confirmed in writing if we have capacity within 21 days of the advice session. If we cannot advise you on your case for whatever reason we will let you know and provide you with relevant referral sources and information.
Please note our students are trained but they are not yet professionally qualified. They will be working under the close supervision of fully qualified lawyers. Our lawyers are either City Law School staff, or volunteers from practice. All volunteers are covered by our insurance and provide advice on behalf of CityCLAC.
Are we a legal practice?
We are not regulated by the Law Society of England and Wales and do not hold ourselves out to be a solicitor's practice. We are however a member of LawWorks and are committed to Pro Bono Protocol.
The Director of our service is an experienced, qualified solicitor, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and has oversight of all cases. Our volunteer lawyers are all qualified, experienced lawyers, committed to providing pro bono services to give back to the community.
Our law students are trained to take part in the Community Legal Advice Centre and can join from the first year of their undergraduate degree by observing advice sessions, and rising to Student Assistant in their final year. Our postgraduate students (who are studying to be barristers and solicitors) volunteer as Student Advisers, which typically involves interviewing clients, researching the law, and drafting documents such as an attendance note or an advice letter.
Unfortunately we are not able to provide advice to current staff or students. Students should approach the Student Union for advice and referral information.
Who is responsible for your case?
Your case will be allocated to two Student Advisers who will work on your case. The lawyer who has ultimate oversight for your case is the Centre Director Sally Gill, a qualified and experienced solicitor.
Supervision is also provided by qualified volunteers lawyers, and City Law School staff who are also qualified as either solicitors or barristers.
Details of our service
All clients are asked to sign our Client Care Information Agreement which contains details of the service we offer.
The Centre's aim is to provide a high standard of service like that offered by any solicitors' practice. Amongst other things we will:
- Put your interests first when advising you
- Be polite and considerate in our dealings with you
- Make every effort to provide relevant and realistic advice in plain language
- Treat all clients fairly, and not discriminate against anyone. You can contact us for a copy of the University's diversity policy
- Obtain your consent to take your data and comply with data protection law in relation to its retention
- Keep your information confidential; we cannot disclose any of your personal information or details about your case to anyone without your written permission
- Take all steps to ensure that your personal information is not passed to any unauthorised persons
- Refuse to advise anyone else if doing so could compromise your confidentiality
- Not normally advise clients who have already instructed a solicitor on the same matter.
Please note that other legal and professional duties may occasionally affect our ability to meet all these standards.
For example, the solicitor's duty to the Court or Tribunal can override our duty to keep your information confidential or the duty to put your interests first. We also have a legal duty to disclose money laundering or illegal acts.
The Centre has insurance cover provided by the University's Insurers. If the Centre is negligent in the handling of your case, you will be covered by this insurance, and we will be under a duty to advise you of the possibility of a claim should such circumstances arise.
Our service is free and there is no cost to clients
The service we provide is free. However, you should be aware of the following points:
- You may be eligible for legal aid, and if you are the Centre may refer you to other solicitors who offer this service. We do not provide recommendations to firms. If you are eligible for legal aid you may be liable to pay a contribution. You may also be liable to repay your costs from any money or property recovered
- If you decide to pursue legal proceedings, you may be ordered to pay the costs of your opponent if you lose your case
- The Centre cannot brief barristers on your behalf, although it may be appropriate to refer your case to the Free Representation Unit or Advocate who may be able to assist you.
What we would like you to do
Please can you:
- Give us clear instructions about your case and up to date contact details promptly
- Provide us with essential documentation
- Ask us if you are unclear about anything
- Docu-sign our Client Care Information Agreement which we will send to you via our case management system, email or post depending on your preference.
Useful information about solicitors and the way they work can be found on the Law Society's website.
Ending our agreement
You can ask us to stop working for you at any time by contacting us in writing normally by email.
We can only decide to stop working for you for a good reason, for example there is a conflict of interest, your case becomes too complex for students, it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work or there is no educational benefit to the students in continuing to work on the case.
If this situation occurs, we will give you reasonable notice in writing that we will stop working for you.
What if I wish to make a complaint?
We hope you will be satisfied with the service provided by the Centre. If you have a concern about your case, in the first instance, you should write to Sally Gill the Director of the Community Legal Advice Centre, who will provide you with details of our Complaints and Compliments Policy, and deal with your complaint.
If you are dissatisfied with her response, or your complaint concerns the service delivered by the Director of the Centre, you can request that the matter be investigated by the Associate Dean for Student Experience, who is a qualified solicitor (non-practising). Once your complaint has been investigated you can contact the Legal Ombudsman if you remain dissatisfied. Further details will be given on request.