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Legal matters

Dealing with legal issues can be daunting, but there are plenty of places to seek help and advice.

GOV.UK offers information and advice on all aspects of your rights and the law on their website.

For advice and guidance on the following, click on the links below:

General advice

If you're not sure what sort of help you need, the best place to try first is usually your local Citizens Advice office.

Citizens Advice is a national charity which offers a wide range of advice and support to help people resolve their problems with debt, benefits, employment, housing, discrimination, and many more issues. Their website has information on how to get free or affordable legal help

Find your nearest Citizens Advice.

Age UK provides information on a range of legal issues for older people, as well as a free national advice line that is open from 8am to 7pm, 365 days a year. 

For more specific issues, see the following sections: 

Legal advice

The University of Essex provides free and confidential legal advice to the local community in the Essex Law Clinic at the Colchester campus.

Law centres offer legal advice, casework and representation to individuals and groups. They are independent and operate on a not-for-profit basis. They can offer advice on a number of issues but usually specialise in employment, discrimination, housing and immigration. Law Centre advisers are highly skilled to give you the best legal advice to help you solve your problems and get on with life.

Find your local Law Centre.

Finding a solicitor

The Law Society is the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales.  Visit their website for information on a variety of common legal issues, and to find a solicitor near you.

Getting legal aid

You may be eligible for legal aid towards some of your legal costs.  Check if you can get legal aid on GOV.UK.

Legal help for people with disabilities

The Disability Law Service offers free, confidential legal advice and representation for disabled people. 

Making a will

A will is a legal document which explains what you would like to happen to your assets after your death. 

You can get a solicitor to write your will, use a will writing service, or you can write it yourself. 

For more about these options, see Writing a will - your options on the Money Advice Service website. 

For more information on making a will, visit GOV.UK.

What to do when someone dies

GOV.UK offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide on What to do after someone dies. 

You can also use their Tell Us Once service.  This service notifies most government departments in one go. 

To register a death in Essex, visit the Essex County Council website.

For information about arranging the funeral, visit GOV.UK. 

To find out if you may be eligible for help with funeral costs, visit GOV.UK.

Age UK provides practical information on What to do when someone dies.

Your rights as a patient

Some of your rights as a patient are set out in the NHS Constitution for England on GOV.UK. 

Citizens Advice has a comprehensive guide about all aspects on your rights as a patient. 

Healthwatch Essex is an independent voice for the people of Essex.  They gather your views about heath and care services and help to improve them.  Contact their information service if you have a question about heath or social care services. You can also review a local service or see what others have said about them.

Your rights as a tenant

Your rights as a tenant will depend on what sort of tenancy you have.  If you're not sure what type you have, you can check it on the Tenancy rights checker on the Shelter website.

GOV.UK has information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant:

Age UK has a series of factsheets regarding tenancy rights:

Discrimination and the Equality Act 2010

The law that protects people from discrimination and unfair treatment is called the Equality Act 2010.

Citizens Advice provides a comprehensive guide to discrimination and your rights under the Equality Act 2010. 

Citizens Advice and the Government Equalities Office have produced two guides to some of your rights under the Equality Act 2010:

They also have discrimination advice in British Sign Language.

Information the council keeps about you

Essex County Council is committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services.  The Privacy Notice explains how we use information about you and how we protect your privacy.

Related links

Mental Health Act 1983

Mental Capacity Act 2005

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Care Act 2014



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