The University of Bolton has launched a new free Legal Advice Centre manned by law students which is available to members of the public.
The service based at the university’s Institute of Management (IoM) building in Great Moor Street in the town centre was opened on Friday 27 September.
It is being launched against a backdrop of reduced access to legal advice, which has created a huge gap at a time when more people than ever need legal protection.
Ian Bowden, Lecturer in Law at the university, who is also a qualified Solicitor Advocate, said “it has been incredible how many people have been in touch and it is obvious that there is a real need for this kind of service in Bolton. We already have a number of cases that we are looking at including family cases, employment disputes, advice on wills, company law and consumer complaints.”
Ian added: “As well as offering this valuable service to the people of Bolton, the centre at the same time will provide an important learning experience for students.”
“People often need legal advice but don’t know where to turn. This will give them an option and will be a valued service to the local community.”
Volunteers will provide initial advice on how best to deal with the particular problem, with supervision from Ian and fellow law lecturer, Zaman Kala.
Ian said: “The university has been working in partnership with legal professionals through the Bolton Law Society, with charities and specialist advice services to ensure that every enquiry can be appropriately dealt with either through the centre team or through our external partners. Members of the public can be assured that our team are trained in the wide range of skills required of a solicitor.”
Law students will gain valuable hands-on experience and knowledge, together with ethical skills, under professional supervision.
The centre will also feature a drop-in format to run alongside scheduled appointments. It will also offer advice to staff and students from the University of Bolton group.
An online portal has been set up, where members of the public can register their legal enquiry. Visit: www.bolton.ac.uk/legal-advice-centre/