The Co-operative Legal Services is a company that provides legal services in the UK, as an owned subsidiary of The Co-operative Group. Established in 2006, its head office is based in Manchester and the company has operations centres located in Almondsbury, Bristol and Paddington in west London.
In March 2012, The Co-operative Legal Services became the first major consumer brand to receive approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to become an 'alternative business structure'. This meant that it could officially offer a range of legal services that were previously only offered by normal solicitors firms. This is a position it holds with just two other organisations, John Welch & Stammers and Lawbridge Solicitors.
Two months after this, The Co-operative Legal Services announced plans to establish five regional hubs across England, a rapid expansion programme that has posed a challenge to traditional high-street solicitors.
The Co-op organisation also runs supermarkets, banks, funeral services and pharmacies, priding itself on reasonable rates and ethical and socially responsible values, which will set it apart from the more expensive and traditional law firms. It aims to mitigate the impact of legal-aid cuts by providing legal services to those affected at a reasonable, affordable rate.
The Co-operative Legal Services aims to revolutionise the way legal services are run in the UK, as well as increasing access to justice for those who are discouraged by the expense of taking legal action through a traditional law firm. They aim to hire lawyers who would prefer to strike a balance between work and their personal lives, rather than pursuing the customary partner route.
The Co-operative Legal Services seeks to assist its clientèle across a number of areas: family legal issues, conveyance, probate, personal injury, wills and employment law. It offers free initial telephone advice and offers set rates per case, instead of charging by the hour.
- Family and relationships: cohabitation agreements, separation agreements, pre-nuptials, child maintenance and remarriage
- Conveyancing: legal assistance for buying or selling a house, leasehold extensions, shared ownership, NewBuy Scheme, joint tenancy and energy performance certificates
- Making a will: drafting wills, legally assessing wills and professional executor service
- Probate: probate and estate administration, inheritance tax, income tax returns, drafting and executing instrument of variation and all affairs regarding foreign, heritage, business or agricultural assets
- Personal injury: car accident claims, motorcycle claims, accidents at work and industrial disease, injuries resulting from slips and falls, clinical and medical negligence, sports and leisure injuries and compensation
- Employment law: advice on employment law, settlement agreements, compromise agreements and representing clients at employment tribunals