UK's Asian community gets justice helpline

The Society of Asian Lawyers has launched the first national legal helpline which will give free advice to the Asian community in mother tongue.

The service will be manned by a volunteer team of qualified barristers and solicitors who will offer advice on simple matters or refer them to legal assistance available in their area.

The helpline will initially run for one evening a week, between the hours of 6pm to 9pm, and will be based in the offices of Sherratte Caleb & Co, which has donated both space and a phone line to the service.

Head of communications for the society, Ardi Kolah, said: “In terms of access to justice, the Asian community does not do well compared to other groups.

“Language is a key issue, but so is the fear of seeing a lawyer; it can be an anxious experience.

“There are many people who perceive the law as ‘not for us’, especially if the lawyer is white. This line gives anonymity.”

He added “We are aiming at the most disadvantaged sections of our community, those who need help with housing benefits, immigration and social services.”

The service can be reached on either 0171 583 5843 or 0370 616 116.