You might be able to get legal advice and representation from a solicitor in a law centre. There are a number of law centres in Scotland. This page explains more.
What's a law centre?
They are special firms of solicitors that are not-for-profit organisations. Sometimes they are linked to charities or advice agencies. Most law centres aim to help and represent people who are vulnerable or would otherwise find it difficult to get legal advice.
The solicitors in law centres usually specialise in areas of law such as housing and social welfare and have lots of experience in dealing with issues related to these problems. Law centres understand that there are lots of things that can affect your housing situation (for example, being kicked out by your parents, being addicted to drugs, losing your job or breaking up with your partner).
How they can help
If you need legal advice and representation, a law centre will probably be able to give this to you. If you've been referred to a law centre by and advice agency the law centre will usually work with your caseworker or adviser to help you.
A solicitor at the law centre will speak to you and look at the situation you're in before advising you of your legal position and what to do next. They can also represent you in court if you need this.
Law centres have experience in areas of law that other solicitors don't deal with. For example, a law centre can help you:
if your landlord is threatening to evict you
if you've been having problems with your benefits
with other money problems, including debt
if your home isn't in a good state but your landlord won't do anything about it
if you're getting hassle from your landlord
if you can't pay your mortgage and you're at risk of losing your home.
However, not every law centre deals with the same kind of cases so it's best to check whether the law centre near you can help with the problems you're having. Again, an advice agency near you can help to guide you in the right direction.
If you don't need legal advice any more but you still need help with other problems in your life, law centres can usually refer you back to an advice agency that can offer further information and support.
Where's my nearest law centre?
There are several law centres in Scotland in the following places:
Ethnic Minorities Law Centre, Glasgow and Edinburgh
Govan Law Centre, Glasgow
Legal Services Agency (offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Greenock)
Scottish Child Law Centre, Edinburgh.
If you are getting advice through one of Shelter's advice centres and need legal representation, you'll be referred to our solicitors.
If you want more information on solicitors who work in law centres, contact the Law Society of Scotland.
Last updated: 1 September 2016