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Free Legal Advice Clinics For Disabled People Extended In Newcastle

Specialist Lawyers To Continue Its Pro Bono Work With Charities Next Year


Charities dedicated to helping improve the lives of disabled people and their families will be joining forces with law firm Irwin Mitchell again next year to offer advice and guidance at free legal advice surgeries.

Disability North and Contact a Family will work alongside specialist lawyers from Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office at six legal advice surgeries in 2013 following their popularity with disabled people and their families in the North East this year.

Disability North will host the monthly surgeries from January to June 2013 at The Dene Centre on Castle Farm Road, Gosforth in Newcastle.

Sessions can be booked between 10am and 1pm with lawyers offering advice on a range of disability related issues from accessing medical treatment, health and social care needs, issues surrounding mental capacity and vulnerability of family members and any potential cases people may wish to pursue. Legal problems concerning employment, transport and housing needs will also be covered.

John Davis, regional managing partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, said: “We piloted three legal advice clinics with Disability North and Contact a Family earlier this year and we had a really enthusiastic response with all the appointment slots being quickly snapped up.  In fact, the dates were extended until November to cope with this year’s demand.

“At Irwin Mitchell we see first-hand how difficult it can be for people to cope with an impairment, whether it’s caused by an accident or injury or is something they have lived with all their lives. We are committed to helping people access the services and specialist help and rehabilitation they need to live their lives to the full.

"These legal advice sessions are aimed at helping disabled people to make some positive changes in their lives. Disability North and Contact a Family really help make a difference to people’s lives and we are looking forward to working together with them again next year.”

Diane Cowan, manager at Disability North, said more than 20 people had attended the legal advice clinics since they were introduced in July.

She added: “We wanted to introduce legal surgeries because we were often asked by clients for advice about how they could progress a legal case. We would signposted them to the relevant people or organisation but we felt we couldn’t really take it further, so that’s why John Davis and I discussed Irwin Mitchell and the charities joining forces to offer the advice clinics.

“I think they have been so popular with our clients because it’s provided an avenue for them to have a frank discussion about their circumstances confidentially among people they trust without worrying about the initial cost. 

“Many people have said they have found it reassuring, informative and a relief to know that they can get access to the help they need through a charity and law firm partnership they trust and it gave them the opportunity to make their own informed choices following the advice they had been given by Irwin Mitchell. We felt it was a great way of empowering disabled people and their families.

“We are delighted Irwin Mitchell will be working with us again next year and hope that together we can make a difference to as many disabled people and their families as possible.”

The legal clinics will run on Monday 14 January, Monday 11 February, Wednesday 13 March, Thursday 11 April, Thursday 9 May and Thursday 27 June.

For more information, or to book an appointment, call Disability North on 0191 284 0480 or Contact a Family on 0191 213 6300.