Cherie Booth QC, Patron of Coram Children's Legal Centre, has launched a new free online children's legal advice service for families who might not otherwise have access to advice.
The event was attended by a broad selection of strategic representatives from multi disciplinary agencies, who will now be able to refer the new services on to their users. This included Heads of Children's services, family rights groups, legal professionals and key personnel from the Department of Education who are funding the project.
Coram Children's Legal Centre received over 10,000 calls last year, a third of which were on the subject of ‘contact with children', several hundred more than in the previous year. The figures would indicate an increase in acrimonious or non-existent contact arrangements causing both children and parents emotional and legal distress.
The new easy to use confidential service offers completely free legal expertise online to people who can't afford legal fees. At the forefront, is a new live web chat service which connects enquirers directly to an online legal advisor. They can also speak to ‘Lisa', a virtual online assistant that leads the user to the advice they need. There are also detailed fact sheets on many areas of family, child and education law, covering everything from abduction to school exclusions.
Cherie Booth QC said: "This is a tremendous new service for which there is clearly a great need, as is shown by the recent large increase in calls to the helpline. Legal advice is so expensive that it's beyond the reach of many people, so I heartily welcome this innovative expansion of a free service to ensure children and their families get access to the help they need."