Mind the gap: an assessment of unmet legal need in London

This report, prepared by a law firm in conjuction with a parliamentary working group in the United Kingdom, summarizes the results of a survey conducted at London MP constituency offices or "surgeries" during the autumn of 2016. The researchers observed 325 constituents' appointments over a two month period.The found that 89 percent of the appointments they observed related to "issues of legal concern" - primarily in the areas of housing, immigration, and social assistance benefits.

The report recommended the following strategies to help MP office cope with the absence of legal advice available to many of their constituents, including:

  • training MPs and constituency office staff on identifying legal issues and referring clients
  • set-up of a comprehensive database of free legal advice available to people in London, including details of areas of law covered, types of services offered, and eligibility criteria for assistance
  • making public legal education and information (PLEI) resources more readily accessible, providing PLEI to constituents to inform them about the law
  • increasing funding to law centres to boost their capacity to help people