The role of Solicitor Advocate within the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service was established to be a dedicated service for homeless people with complex needs needing legal representation in minor criminal matters.
The role is designed to overcome some of the barriers homeless people face in court processes, including: lack of knowledge of the legal system; need for longer appointment times to give instructions; need for continuity of representation to build trust; and difficulties facing multiple and complex inter-related legal and non-legal issues.
The target is homeless people who cannot, because of complex needs, effectively access Legal Aid or duty solicitors. Many clients struggle with the impact mental illness or addiction has on their ability to give instructions in a short interview in the unfamiliar court environment. This session will explore the strengths and objectives of the role and how traditional court and legal services might usefully be modified.