Legal advice

5 mins read

This advice applies across the UK.

In most cases it isn’t necessary to seek legal advice to get the support you need. But sometimes it may be necessary to get a legal opinion or take legal action to put things right.

In this article

Before you consider legal advice

In most cases, it isn’t necessary to seek legal advice to get the support you need.

We have lots of advice on our website, including on education, and benefits and entitlements. We can tell you how you can challenge decisions you’re not happy with. We may be able to tell you about local organisations that can support you to resolve your problem.

If you’re looking for advice about housing or employment rights, contact our helpline for information about national organisations that specialise in these areas. 

When you might seek legal support

Social Care

You may experience difficulties accessing services, such as short breaks or direct payments, or the local authority may try to withdraw or reduce a service. These decisions can normally be challenged using the local authority’s complaints procedure and if necessary through the Ombudsman. It can also help to involve your local councillor or your MP. 

You could also seek advice from a solicitor about your options, and you may qualify for legal aid. You may have to go through the complaints procedure before starting legal action, although exceptions can be made if the lack of service or removal of the service would put you or your child at risk. Seek specialist advice on this.


Some families experience difficulty getting the right support for their child’s special educational needs. Other issues include school and college transport, exclusions and disability discrimination.

We aim to give you the advice and information you need to help your disabled child get the education they are entitled to. It may be necessary to seek legal advice from specialists in some cases where this isn’t happening. For example, if other complaints or appeal routes have not been successful, a solicitor might be able to help challenge decisions made by the local authority.


If a child suffers a serious injury in an accident, even if you feel it may have been their fault, it may be possible for them to claim compensation.

Compensation could help pay for private treatment, specialist equipment, adapted accommodation or support services to help meet the child’s needs. This can give you the help and support you need for your family to thrive, as well as peace of mind that your child’s needs will be provided for.

Clinical / medical negligence

Sometimes doctors or healthcare providers make a mistake with regard to the care they provide to a patient, falling short of what could be reasonably expected from them. This is known as clinical negligence.  

If your child has suffered a serious injury and you feel this may be due to clinical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation to fund private treatment, specialist equipment, adapted accommodation or support services. A claim for compensation can provide you and your family with peace of mind that your child’s future care needs will be looked after and ensure you get all the support available to you.

Seeking an apology may also be important to you. Sometimes it is possible to obtain an apology as well as compensation by bringing a claim.

We have more information about clinical negligence, including details of the specialist solicitors we work with, and a step-by-step guide on making a claim.

Clinical negligence

If you believe your child has been injured due to poor medical treatment or advice, you should speak to a specialist solicitor as quickly as possible. Your child may be entitled to compensation.

clinical negligence

Getting free legal advice

You may be entitled to free legal aid to help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in court. Whether you are eligible for legal aid depends on your personal circumstances. A specialist solicitor will be able to advise you about this, or you could visit the government’s legal aid webpage for more information.

If you are not eligible for legal aid, you may still be able to access free legal advice. Our helpline may be able to put you in touch with local advisers that can help.

Where to find legal advice

Law centres (England, Northern Ireland & Wales)

Law centres offer legal advice, casework and representation to individuals and groups. They specialise in social welfare law, including welfare rights, disability rights, immigration and asylum, housing and homelessness, employment rights, community care, discrimination and debt.

Law Centres are independent and operate on a not-for-profit basis. They are also accountable to their communities, with local people acting on their management committees.

Visit Law Centre’s Federation for a list of law centres across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

If a local law centre cannot help or there is not a law centre in your area, our helpline can help suggest other options.

LawWorks legal clinics (UK-wide)

The LawWorks Clinics Network provides free initial advice on various areas of social welfare law, including employment law, housing matters, consumer disputes, debt and welfare rights. The clinics are for people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay for a lawyer.

Find a legal advice clinic.

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