A legal charity is extending its Dundee reach in response to a dramatic upsurge in demand from the city’s most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Domestic abuse victims, low-income families and the elderly are among those to have faced an increasing struggle to access the justice system due to the coronavirus crisis, according to the Dundee Law Centre.
The charity, which was formerly the Dundee North Law Centre, has relaunched to cover the whole of the city and its immediate surroundings.
Its legal experts say the move is in response to spiralling demand which has seen the most vulnerable in the community face locked offices, restricted movement and struggle to adapt to new technological demands from courts and tribunals.
The charity offers free assistance and representation to those it helps.
It has used lockdown to tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic head on, expanding its operations, revamping its website and providing social media platforms to match their new outlook and ambitions.
Principal solicitor Joyce Horsman, who succeeded the charity’s founding lawyer Peter Kinghorn last year, said: “The Dundee North Law Centre has helped hundreds of Dundee citizens over the last 30 years and there have been many challenges and changes during that time.
“Going forward with our new name, it is important that we reach as many people as possible and the new website will help us to do that.
“The ongoing pandemic has shown us just how important it is to find new ways of connecting with our clients and people in need.
“We encourage people to have a look at our new site and use it to get in touch with us.”
Joyce added: “In all of this change, we have not forgotten the most vulnerable and under prevailing Covid conditions we will strive, at our best, to ensure no one is denied access to justice.
“If we can, we will deliver fairness and justice for Dundee.”
Opportunity to adapt
Chairwoman Marjory Stewart said: “Whilst the impact of Covid-19 has been challenging, it has also given us the opportunity to invest in upgrading our systems and review and enhance our delivery and outreach model.
“By adapting our approach, we have been able to continue to deliver legal and advice services to vulnerable people.
“Whilst we are looking forward to welcoming back clients to face-to-face meetings, we are also looking to the future and providing digital access to clients so that we can continue to provide quality legal advice and support when and where it is most needed.”
Members of the public can now reach Dundee Law Centre by phone, text, via the WebChat enquiry form and on Facebook.
The Dundee Law Centre offers free assistance and representation on subjects including criminal injuries compensation, community care, employment law, social security, housing, consumer, education law, debt and general legal advice.