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Free Legal Advice Centre

The University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre is reopening from Monday, 4 October 2021. Please see the ‘Get Advice’ tab for details.

The University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre (or as it is more commonly known, ‘FLAC’) was established by the former University of Edinburgh Diploma Director, the late Elaine Tyre in 2007. Since then, FLAC has continued to grow. In 2019, the Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education Department was established and now operates a number of clinics, including our long-standing FLAC. We are constantly looking at ways to develop and grow our clinics to achieve our aims.

Our aims, values, and mission

Our clinics, including FLAC, have three aims at their core:

  1. To provide excellent legal advice
  2. To support our community
  3. To enhance the learning experience of law students

Student-led law clinics

We are extremely proud that our clinics are student-led projects. Our clinics are currently comprised of the Free Legal Advice Centre, Virtual Law Clinic and our StrEEt Aware Law Clinic.

At the start of each academic year, students from the Diploma are selected to sit on the FLAC Committee and students from other law programmes join our Student Administration and Operations Team. The Department also works closely with our student Pro Bono Society. The Pro Bono and CLE Team and other members of the law school liaise closely with these students in determining how best to continue to meet the aims of our clinics.. Together, they ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the clinics.

Each Diploma student is involved as a Student Adviser and is allocated a Monday evening during which they attend the clinic in order to meet a client with a suitable case. This advisory element is an essential requirement of the assessed course, Professional Skills and Responsibility, which all Diploma students must complete.

A select number of other law students are involved each year as Student Advisors in our Virtual Law Clinic. These students volunteer with us following a successful application and interview process.

The StrEEt Aware Law Clinic, a collaboration between FLAC, JustRight Scotland and Streetwork (a Simon Community Scotland organisation) launched in 2020 to assist homeless and destitute EEA nationals apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. A number of undergraduate and postgraduate students volunteer in this clinic. At this time, we are not recruiting further volunteers.

The University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre was a finalist for the Frasia Wright Associates Community Contribution Award in the 2020 Scottish Legal Awards.

Find out more about the awards.

The Free Legal Advice Centre delivers pro bono legal services to members of the public living in and around the Edinburgh area who, for whatever reason, cannot access legal advice elsewhere. Student advisers, members of staff and qualified solicitors work together to offer advice on legal problems.

The centre is run by University of Edinburgh law students and Edinburgh Law School Staff and supported by volunteer solicitors. These volunteer solicitors supervise the student advisers and assist them in their research, but the student advisers are responsible for dealing with your case and contacting you.

 What we can do

We can provide advice and assistance on the following:

  • Company & Commercial
  • Contract
  • Disputes
  • Employment
  • Family
  • Property
  • Intellectual Property
  • Landlord and Tenant
  • Wills and Inheritance
  • Personal Injury

 What we can’t do

  • Criminal Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Representation or advice in tribunals, hearing, or the vast majority of court cases

Lay Representation Service

Please note our Lay Representation Service is not operating at present

Although we are unable to offer representation in tribunals, hearings and the vast majority of court cases, we are able to offer a limited Lay Representation Service in Simple Procedure (formerly Small Claims) cases up to £3,000 in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. We offer;

  • Advice on whether the Lay Representation Service is an appropriate remedy for your particular problem
  • Advice on initiating a Simple Procedure action
  • Advice on defending a Simple Procedure action
  • Representation throughout the whole process

Any representation in a Simple Procedure action, will be carried out by two Diploma students working in pairs, supervised by a qualified solicitor.

This year, we are currently offering in-person appointments on Monday evenings at 6pm and 7pm. We will also be offering a limited number of online appointments through our Virtual Law Clinic.

  1. To arrange an appointment, please email freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk or call 0800 073 0150 (voicemail only) and confirm your full name, postal address including post code, email, telephone number and a brief summary of the issue you are looking for advice on.
  2. The mailbox is checked regularly. Our voicemail is checked less frequently throughout the week which is why we encourage email communication if at all possible. Our Administrator will email or call you back to discuss any further information we need and what help we can offer and, if we can assist, possible appointment times.
  3. After you have agreed appointment slot, you will receive a confirmation letter by email. Please scan or email us a copy of your form of identification and any other documents relevant to your query ahead of your appointment. For in-person appointments, please bring your ID on the night as well. For online appointments, we ask that you have your ID to show us on the webcam. If you cannot scan your ID or documents, we can do so at your in-person appointment.
  4. The appointment letter will contain directions to the Centre. Directions can also be found here.
  5. At the appointment you will be able to discuss your problem with your student adviser. All information discussed at this appointment will be strictly confidential. Your student adviser will seek your permission if they need to contact anyone on your behalf.
  6. After your appointment, you will receive an Initial Letter outlining the details of your case and what steps, if any, the Centre will be taking.
  7. This letter will be followed by an Advice Letter which will include advice, any further work that the Centre can do on your behalf, or any other organisations we could refer you to that specialise in your legal problem.
  8. Once your case has been dealt with or referred to another organisation, you will receive a final letter stating that the Centre has closed your case and is no longer acting on your behalf.

If you have any queries about obtaining advice from our centre, please e-mail us at freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk  or call our Freephone number on 0800 073 0150 (voicemail only) and one of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

This year, we are currently offering in-person appointments on Monday evenings at 6pm and 7pm. We will also be offering a limited number of online appointments through our Virtual Law Clinic.

To arrange an appointment, please email freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk or call 0800 073 0150 (voicemail only) and confirm your full name, postal address including post code, email, telephone number and a brief summary of the issue you are looking for advice on.

No. The service we provide is free. However, all donations are gratefully received. If you would like more information about donating, please email us at freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk.

Yes. Our service is provided in accordance with the Law Society of Scotland’s Standards.

The Free Legal Advice Centre is located at the University of Edinburgh Outreach Centre, 9B Holyrood Road.

View location map

No. We would advise visiting The Law Society of Scotland's website for comprehensive advice about finding legal aid for a criminal issue.

Visit the Law Society of Scotland website

At present, we are unable to provide legal representation in tribunals or the vast majority of court cases. The Law Society of Scotland has a comprehensive list of solictors who can represent you.

Visit the Law Society of Scotland's website

You can contact the centre by emailing us at freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk. A member of our team will email you back and answer any queries you have. Alternatively, you can call our Freephone number on 0800 073 0150 and leave a message. Please note our voicemail is monitored less frequently than our email. We will however endeavour to call you back as soon as possible.

All students are supervised by a qualified solicitor. This means that the advice we provide is always verified before you receive it.

The centre is run by students, academic staff, support staff and volunteer supervising solicitors.

The University of Edinburgh meets the day-to-day running costs of the centre. Contributions, made up of donations and funds raised by students, are put toward the future development of the centre.

Solicitors

The Free Legal Advice Centre delivers pro bono legal services to members of the public who are otherwise unable to access legal advice. In offering this service, students, including all Diploma students and a select number of undergraduate students, are given the opportunity to take part in hands-on legal work for the benefit of the wider community, whilst putting their legal skills into practice, often for the first time.    

A commitment to pro bono work is extremely rewarding, but just as rewarding is the huge personal satisfaction you will have in contributing to the education of our students. They will be inspired by your knowledge and professionalism and you, in turn, will gain great satisfaction from supervising those who want to learn.

To find out more about what volunteering with the Free Legal Advice Centre involves, please contact our Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education Team at freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk

Students

Diploma in Professional Legal Practice Students:

All Diploma students will be involved as Student Advisers. This role forms part of the assessed course, Professional Skills and Responsibility.

If you are a Diploma student looking for more experience, there may be an opportunity for you to take on another case later in the Diploma year. Please let us know if this is the case by contacting the Centre at freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk or speaking to the Centre Coordinator.

Diploma Students can also apply to join the DPLP FLAC Committee. The Committee consists of the DPLP Student Director, Deputy Director and Operations Lead. Applications for AY 21/ 22 are now closed.

Other Student Opportunities:

We offer undergraduate students in 3rd or 4th year of their LLB, 2nd year Graduate LLB and postgraduate students with a Scots Law degree the opportunity to volunteer in our Virtual Law Clinic. Students are selected through an application process. For details on applying, please email freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk

Student Administration and Operations Team: 

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from any law programme and year are encouraged to volunteer for a position on the Administration and Operations Team. This is an opportunity to gain legal administrative and operations experience across all Pro Bono and CLE Department clinics. Applications for AY 21/ 22 are now closed.

We also encourage all law students interested in pro bono and access to justice to join the Pro Bono Society. Further details on the Pro Bono Society can be found here: Groups and Societies at the Law School - Current Law Students (ed.ac.uk)

Support us

The University of Edinburgh Law School’s Free Legal Advice Centre provides assistance to members of the public who would otherwise be unable to afford it. All pro-bono work is student led, under the close supervision of volunteer solicitors and law school staff. Your generous gift will help us to expand this important work, and give vulnerable members of the community access to justice.

Please make a donation today to support this vital service.

Support the Free Legal Advice Centre with a single gift.

Support the Free Legal Advice Centre with a regular gift.

Community Fundraising for FLAC - the University's 'Fundraising Your Way' initiative is an excellent way to turn your hobby, interest or one off activity into an opportunity to raise funds for FLAC.