The Law Society has launched a dedicated telephone helpline to direct the victims of the riots to pro bono or free legal advice.
Working in collaboration with its partner charity LawWorks and individual law firms, the Law Society said it has launched the public service helpline to provide support to the victims of the rioting and looting, in particular small independent shopkeepers whose livelihoods are threatened by the impact of the recent unrest.
According to the Law Society, a full time caseworker will be based at the National Pro Bono Centre to manage applications for legal assistance by individuals, community groups and small businesses in the affected communities. Cases will then be matched with volunteer lawyers who will offer assistance on a range of legal matters from insurance and compensation to contractual, property and employment law.
Law Society president, John Wotton, said: “Over the coming months, the victims will need practical help to get their businesses or personal lives back on track in these very difficult circumstances should have a quick route to specialist advice.
“The Law Society has been calling on the profession to provide pro bono assistance to help meet the demand. I have been hugely impressed by the response of solicitors so far who are demonstrating yet again their commitment to a just and stable society and urge others to join the movement.
“This helpline demonstrates the legal profession’s shared commitment to justice and social responsibility. We have acted quickly to provide practical help to those who are the victims of lawlessness.”
The telephone helpline number is 020 7092 3949
Full information about the service and details of how to apply can be found online at http://www.lawworks.org.uk/riothelp
The cost of the helpline is being met by the Law Society, Bar Council and generosity of law firms. Those who have already pledged support include:
Allen & Overy
Berwin Leighton Paisner
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Simmons & Simmons
Slaughter and May