Employees across Yorkshire and the North East experiencing employment-related problems can now get free legal advice from specialist employment lawyers thanks to The College of Law in York.
The College, based in Bishopthorpe, has set up a free employment rights telephone advice line aimed at people, who may otherwise be unable to afford access to legal guidance.
It was launched last night to mark National Pro Bono Week, which runs from November 9 – 13 and comprises events across the country to celebrate the range and impact of pro bono activity undertaken by solicitors, barristers, legal executives and law students.
Guests at last night’s launch of the Employment Rights Line: (L-R) Gareth Stevens - Hethertons Solicitors; Lindsay Ward - Senior Pro Bono Coordinator, The College of Law; Employment Judge David Sneath; Steve Marriott - student participant in the Employment Rights Line; Stephen Partridge - Sykes Lee & Brysdon Solicitors; Laura Milner - Supervising Solicitor, The College of Law, York; Helen Metcalfe - Pro Bono Administrator, The College of Law, York.
Under the new scheme employees or former employees with employment worries can call the Employment Rights Line and leave a message. A College student will call them back within 24 hours and carry out a fact-finding interview over the phone.
The student then makes an appointment for a fully-qualified employment lawyer to call the client and give free, confidential advice. This is followed up by a letter summarising the advice drafted by the student under the close supervision of the solicitor.
Guest speaker at the launch of the new advice line, David Sneath, Employment Judge for the Yorkshire Region, said: “Since the start of the recession there has been an increase in applications to the Employment Tribunal. The availability of initial free specialist advice will be hugely beneficial to the local community in reducing conflict."
Lindsay Ward, Senior Pro Bono Co-ordinator at The College of Law, said “This is an example of partnership work between students at the College and solicitors from local law firms Harrowells, Hethertons and Sykes Lee & Brydson. We have launched the Employment Rights Line during National Pro Bono Week to attract more solicitor volunteers and to let members of the public know that the service is available to them."
The launch is part of The College of Law’s award-winning pro bono work across the country, which gives members of the local community free access to legal advice. Employment advice lines have also been set up at its centres in Birmingham, Chester, Guildford, London Bloomsbury and Manchester.
Employees from the Yorkshire and North East area wanting help with employment issues should call 01904 659065.
The College is also looking for more volunteer lawyers to advise clients. Anyone interested should contact Lindsay Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.