October 2023
Are you interested in becoming an NCLS Trustee?

Are you ready for a new challenge, helping to make a difference for a charity that helps thousands of Norfolk people every year?

If so, we would love to hear from you as we launch our drive to find new trustees for our board.

About Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) and its Trustees

We are a legal advice charity and have been working in Norfolk for over 40 years.  We run a range of free, accredited, independent specialist legal services to meet local need. Our work enables people to challenge decisions that affect them.  We help keep people in jobs, in their homes; in this country; safe and out of poverty and destitution.

While people from all walks of life access us, we target our services at people who are the most vulnerable. This includes people on low incomes, people with physical and/or learning disabilities or mental health issues, ex-offenders and people who are from ethnic minority communities.  We helped around 4,000 people in 2022/23, making a tremendous difference to so many people’s lives.

With a new CEO on board, now is the perfect chance to get involved and help make a real difference to people in Norfolk.

We are looking for individuals who can bring diversity of thought and/or lived experience and who are able to demonstrate a genuine commitment to our clients and to the promotion of access to justice. These are exceptional opportunities to share your talents and expertise to make a positive difference to the lives of people served by NCLS.

We are open to applications from any background and are looking for a high performing individual who can add real value to the Board. It is a rewarding role, being an integral part of the effective governance and strategic development of NCLS. As a Trustee and Board member you will act as custodian of NCLS for current and future clients.

Our Trustee Recruitment pack containing more information can be found here

Please contact the office 01603 496623, option 5, to arrange an informal discussion with Sarah Blunden, NCLS Chair or David Powles, NCLS Chief Executive, and to learn more about the role and our organisation. Alternatively please email or

How to Apply

Please complete the application form which can be found here: Application form, and return to

July 2023

A Welfare Rights Adviser who works for Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) has been awarded a national honour, the Muslim Community Service Award for Community Welfare.
Vaughan Thomas attended the national Awards celebration event in London, hosted by the Muslim Community Association, who presented him with an engraved glass trophy and a cheque for £2000 towards the charity of his choice.
The Gala event and Awards ceremony celebrated the good work done in the community by people whose service and dedication have improved the lives of many British Muslims. The Awards highlight people who are known for promoting community cohesion and who go out of their way to help the Muslim community deal with the impact of deprivation and prejudice.
Vaughan Thomas has been involved in welfare rights advice at NCLS since 2012, where he was instrumental in helping to set up the Welfare Rights and Representation Service. Prior to that he was a volunteer welfare rights caseworker at an advice centre in Nottinghamshire, and a Trades Union representative in Nottinghamshire and Norfolk.
Speaking about this Award and his love of welfare rights work, Vaughan said: “It was an honour and a humbling experience to receive such a prestigious national award, and for welfare rights to be recognised for its contribution to the community.
“I’m working for social justice and ‘righting a wrong’ at Tribunals. Everyone I represent wants the same thing; social justice, but we can only work to the current legislation, regulations and guidelines and it’s by using these that we can and do achieve a significant measure of social justice for NCLS clients.
“There is immense satisfaction in being able to help, advise and represent Norfolk people when they are unable to afford to pay for a lawyer but deserve justice.”
In his acceptance speech, Vaughan also spoke about the mutual benefits to local communities of helping people to secure welfare benefits that they are entitled to, when there is £19m in unclaimed benefits each year. He ended by looking forward with hope to a future without poverty and without the need for food banks.
Describing how Vaughan Thomas has helped thousands of people with their concerns and needs and helped them to find a way out of their difficulties, the Awards organisers described him as “…a good listener, someone people can approach and talk to in comfort.” They explained that Vaughan has raised funds for numerous charities too and that during the pandemic, he had found the funds and resources to initiate food banks which had helped the community.

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July 2023

Debt in Norfolk is increasing significantly and women are suffering most, warns charity in latest Impact Report

People are building up dangerously high levels of debt as the impact of the mortgage rate rises and cost-of-living crisis really start to bite, a Norfolk charity has today warned.

Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) has warned that not only are more people trying to access support for a debt crisis, many of them for the first time, the average amount of debt they are finding themselves in has grown considerably.

In the last year alone, the average debt per client has grown by a staggering 113pc. According to NCLS’s latest Impact Report, the average debt of the charity’s clients was £15,550 in 2022/23, compared to £7,277 in 2021/22 and £4,103 in 2020/21.

The charity offers a range of free, accredited and independent specialist legal advice to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. In 2022/23 it helped 3,818 clients, an increase from 3,269 a year earlier.

Other Norfolk trends identified in its 2022/23 Impact Report include:

· Women in Norfolk are increasingly facing the most financial pressure

· Hundreds wrongly denied life-changing welfare benefits to which they are entitled

· People’s issues are growing in complexity, and many are suffering mental ill health

· Significant numbers of people are still not comfortable using the internet and struggle to access the government’s online services

· Charities, including NCLS, face growing demand with resources stretched, leading to longer waits for free advice

Last year Debt clients presented NCLS with £3m worth of debt, most of which the charity’s advisers have successfully negotiated more affordable repayments.

David Powles, Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Law Service, said:

“As mortgage rates rise and the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, an increasing number of people are falling into debt or having to use credit cards and/or high-interest loans to pay for essentials. This could make their situation much worse and leave them trapped in poverty or facing enforcement action or homelessness.

“The Government needs to ease the burden on those who are struggling most. There are actions they can take to help people on low incomes, such as tackling loan sharks, widening support and awareness of Credit Unions, reinstating the £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit, and increasing the National Living Wage.”

Women are suffering the most, with utility debts 112pc higher than that for men. More women than men work in part-time jobs, sometimes on zero hours contracts. Women have less money in savings accounts and still experience gender pay gaps. An entire generation of 3.8 million women on the cusp of retirement were denied access to their state retirement pension for another five years when the State Pension Age was changed.

You can read our full Impact Report here

Welfare benefits appeals

NCLS represented 155 clients at welfare benefits tribunal hearings, an increase of 58pc on 2021/22. £2.3m of welfare benefits were awarded and paid back to clients. The service has secured more than £12m since it began in 2013.

David Powles said: “Although I’m so proud of my team for recouping all that money for our clients, and that then directly benefitting the Norfolk economy, I am appalled that so many benefit applications are being wrongly refused in the first place.

“The entire appeals process is unfit for purpose, being too slow, lengthy and stressful, placing extra pressure on our clients and thus on the NHS.”

Digital Access issues

The Impact Report found that in some NCLS services, up to 35pc of clients were not confident using the internet.

David Powles said: “In the rush by the Government and public services to digitise their services, our figures provide evidence that a significant number of people are not ready. This threatens to further isolate those who are already most in need and vulnerable people will fall through the cracks without face-to-face or specialist telephone support.

“We want the Government and public bodies to tailor their service delivery to meet the needs of ALL their service-users.”


David Powles, who took over as the charity’s CEO in May, said: “The positive impact our staff and volunteers have on the people of Norfolk every day really hits home in this report.

“However, the sad truth is that NCLS is needed more than ever and faces a constant battle to find new volunteers, and new sources of funding to keep services going or introduce new ones.

“We have numerous ways people can help us, such as volunteering, fund-raising or simply donating, and would urge them to get in touch if this is something they are willing to do.”

Read a copy of the latest Impact Report here.

February 2023

NCLS Appoints New CEO

Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) has appointed David Powles as Chief Executive and he will take over from Jane Basham, who retires on April 30th

David, former Editor-in-chief at the Eastern Daily Press, will begin the role on May 1st.

Announcing the appointment, NCLS Chair Sarah Blunden, said:

David comes to us with excellent credentials and a strong relationship developed while was at the Eastern Daily Press.  He brings a wealth of management and communications expertise, along with an absolute commitment to Norfolk and the people who live here. 

During his 16 years as a journalist in Norfolk, he has worked extensively with the county’s charity sector and knows the challenges and hurdles we face.”

David said:

“I am delighted and incredibly proud to be given the chance to lead the team at this fantastic charity, which does so much to help people access free legal advice when they need it.  Access to justice should not just be the preserve of those with the money to fund it.

I cannot wait to work alongside the charity’s dedicated staff and volunteers and will build on Jane’s fantastic legacy. I am determined to raise public awareness of the importance and relevance of Norfolk Community Law Service, as well as ensuring that all those in Norfolk who need its support are able to receive it.”

The charity provides free legal advice, prioritising services for those who are made most vulnerable by society. 

Services include free legal advice clinics, debt, welfare benefits appeals, immigration, employment and discrimination advice, as well as support for victims of domestic abuse and those involved in Family Court proceedings.

Jane Basham joined NCLS four years ago and the charity’s Chair said of her tenure:

Through Jane’s outstanding leadership NCLS has weathered the storm presented by Covid 19.  We have increased the number of clients year on year, become a paperless office, invested in technology, and developed innovative new services to meet the changing access and advice needs.  

These include mobile legal outreach, a new social welfare solicitor, expanded Domestic Abuse services and our Women’s Debt Service. The Norfolk Community Advice Network – with NCLS as lead partner – has also gone from strength to strength in its campaigning for change and sharing of knowledge and good practice. 

We are very proud of these achievements and Jane’s incredible legacy. We have appointed a new CEO who will build on this much needed work.  NCLS has ambitious plans and we know David will take us forward so that we can continue ensuring widespread access to justice in Norfolk.”

     NCLS’s new CEO, David Powles

October 2022

NCLS recently held our AGM looking back at 2021/22.

Clare Carter, Joint CEO of the Access to Justice Foundation was the keynote speaker and highlighted their ‘Defending the Public Purse’ research that showed that each client accessing legal advice saved the Treasury £8,000

NCLS dealt with just over 9,000 enquiries- helping 3,269 clients with just under 4,000 legal issues- up 24%. 26% of clients report they have mental ill health; 31% are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Welfare Benefits team secured £1.1 million pounds worth of benefits for disabled clients, winning 74% of all appeals. The Debt service wrote off or renegotiated just under £2 million pounds worth of Debt. The average amount of Debt clients present with has increased by 64% up to £7,277 from £4,429. The Immigration service worked tirelessly to help EU citizens meet the Brexit deadline of end of June 2021 and this service helped almost double the number of clients than previously. The Family service saw a 144% increase in Family Court hearings and their McKenzie friends helped at 166 hearings.

The Free Legal Advice clinics helped more than 1,600 clients. These clinics only happen because of the commitment of Norfolk’s legal community- dedicated to pro bono and to justice.

Jane Basham, NCLS CEO outlined two successful new projects that were created as a direct response to the pandemic. The Women’s Debt Service and the Mobile Legal Adviser. She also spoke about future plans to build the capacity of Immigration advice and prepare for a Legal Aid contract in 2024.

The AGM was closed with the words of a client. A mother whom NCLS had helped secure a higher rate Disability Living Award for her son.

“I couldn’t even describe how much they have changed our lives.  Even a month later after the Tribunal, Charlie went over and beyond for us in any way she could, such as telling us about qualifying for food vouchers.  They are amazing, they are absolutely amazing.”

July 2022

Windrush Compensation Scheme

A member of our Immigration Advice Team attended a LawWorks InfoExchange on the Windrush Compensation Scheme. It was raised at this meeting that there as been a low update of applications to this Scheme, despite thousands of the people in the UK being eligible to apply, not many have done so. This is thought partly to be due to the lack of awareness and partly due to the lack of trust in the process. 

There are organisations who provide support in applying to the scheme. Details are below: 

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)

GMIAU accept nationwide enquiries in relation to Windrush and provide free support. Please contact Nicola Burgess, Supervising Solicitor or

Please see this leaflet for more information. 

United Legal Access (ULA): Windrush Compensation Claim Help and Support

ULA can provide support nationally via their online service, or at their office locations in Nottingham, Birmingham and London.

June 2022

Home Office – Asylum Dispersal Consultation  

Norfolk Community Law Service have recently responded to the Home Office consultation on where people who seek sanctuary in the UK are dispersed to. We made the following points.  

We’d like to see: 

  • A requirement in funding arrangements that local charities are involved, to build the capacity of trusted grassroots groups, independent of the state 
  • A requirement that people can access independent specialist legal help 
  • Legal Aid contracts in Immigration law need to be made available in Norfolk and Suffolk to build the capacity of local specialist advice 
  • A review of the dispersal system that considers population and tax revenue to ensure people are not dispersed to the poorest areas 
  • Ensure contracted out accommodation providers can be held accountable by Local Authorities 
  • An end to the contracting out of accommodation to large private sector companies and incentivise Local Authorities and charities like Shelter/Housing Associations to provide decent homes & wrap around support 
  • Remove destitution from the system, by allowing people to make their own decisions, work if they can and access welfare benefits that they can live on 
  • Build a system with equalities issues at its core. So, for example, specialist help and safe women only spaces are provided to women and girls who are have experienced / or who are placed are risk of sexual violence/abuse 

The consultation is open until 1st July and can be accessed here Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management 

June 2021

NCLS Newsletter

Our latest newsletter giving updates on what has been happening in NCLS over the last year is out! Link to PDF version is here

Volunteers Week 

This June NCLS is celebrating the huge contribution our volunteers make to the running of all our services. 

NCLS uniquely use a volunteer led model for the delivery of services including Trustees. They have 65 solicitors who provide Pro Bono advice. Additionally, 50 Law students from the University of East Anglia and 20 Community volunteers, drawn from a range of specialist backgrounds.

Judi Lincoln- Advice and Volunteer Manager says:

‘Without the valuable work and contribution of our volunteers we would not have been able to help the 3000 plus clients advised in 20/21. They have enabled us to continue providing all our services throughout lockdown using telephone and video conferencing. Given the recent Office for Students survey that found over a quarter of law graduates are unemployed more than a year after leaving University, we know how important it can be to develop practical work skills for future employment opportunities too’

Charlie Cornford, a UEA Law Student volunteer says:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a volunteer in the admin team at NCLS. I couldn’t speak highly enough of the organisation, the staff and the work they do. As a volunteer, I was impressed by how many opportunities I was given to involve myself in communicating directly with clients and the way in which I was included and supported from the beginning. The skills and confidence I developed from my experience as a volunteer were invaluable to my personal and professional development, and were significant factors in going on to obtain employment in the legal sector.”

During the last year NCLS was able to offer Norfolk people an extra 1,000 hours of free legal advice valued at £150,000+, thanks to legal professionals giving their time and expertise voluntarily (called “pro bono” work).

A client spoke about their experience with one of our volunteer solicitors and said:

 ‘My experience was excellent. The legal advice was insightful, succinct with empathy, too. The lawyer was authoritative, highly credible and razor sharp, as one would hope! Pleasantly surprised by a free service that I knew nothing of prior to my encounter. Just what I required at the time and I would not hesitate to recommend unreservedly. Thank you NCLS. Keep up the good work.’

Another client said of the volunteer who assisted:

‘Without your help I don’t think I could have got through last year’s numerous court hearings and my McKenzie Friend volunteer was an absolute star.  Her advice was invaluable and more than that she gave me the courage to stand up and take on a system I was intimidated by and she helped me win the day.  Bless you all.  NCLS is such a valuable resource and I am forever grateful you were there in my time of need.  Thank you so very very much.’

August 2020

NCLS Provided Feedback on Virtual Court and Tribunal Hearings

We have recently provided evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee on the implications of virtual proceedings in Courts and Tribunals during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have been gathering feedback from clients whose hearings have been conducted remotely, as well as our staff and volunteers, and used this opportunity to make sure their voices are heard at the highest levels.

If you would like to read the evidence we submitted please click here

March 2020

Norfolk Community Law Service ‘Justice Bus’ takes to the roads of Norfolk.

Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) will start helping people with legal problems from its Justice Bus later this week. Members of NCLS staff will be available to help with enquiries, book appointments and put people in touch with legal specialists for help.

Jane Basham CEO of NCLS said ‘Our offices are closing. That’s the right thing to do and the majority of our staff are now working from home. However we know that people’s legal problems aren’t going away because of Coronavirus, and in fact they may well worsen. We were really worried that people would turn up at our door needing help and we wouldn’t be here. We know that not everyone will be confident to walk to another agency, pick up the phone and call us or use the internet and so we are going to try and help people that turn up. If it is successful then we might take the bus across the county to provide urgent legal help to those most in need. ’

Sally Davenport from Working Law Solicitors – a solicitor providing free telephone legal advice says: “All this week I’ve been taking calls from small businesses asking about their employees’ rights if they are forced to shut or their turnover drops dramatically. They want to support their staff but are concerned that they won’t have the funds to do so. As the government measures bite, I am sure that worried employees are going to be seeking information as well. The situation is unprecedented and constantly evolving. We want to try to get practical advice out to as many people as possible.”

NCLS provides a range of free legal and specialist advice services that includes Debt, Welfare Rights Appeals (including Personal Independent Payment, Employment Support Allowance,  Universal Credit) Immigration, Family, Domestic Abuse and Employment.

Initially the bus will be based in Norwich outside NCLS offices in Colegate, but as urgent unmet legal needs are identified can travel across the County.

February 2020

Access to Justice Week

For Access to Justice Week our CEO, Jane Basham, explains who this important. For a link to the article click here

January 2020

NCLS Wins Directory of Social Change Award

We are delighted to have won the Directory of Social Change Everybody Benefits – Long Term award!

We are proud of this national recognition of the essential services we provide to people in Norfolk in desperate need of, and no other access to, Legal advice and support.

Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us. And also a big thank you to all our staff, volunteers and supporters without who we couldn’t do the work that we do.

December 2019

NCLS Advice and Volunteer Manager on Future Radio

Our Advice and Volunteer Manager, Judi Lincoln, spoke on Future Radio on 2nd December about NCLS services and the challenges we are seeing our clients face locally. To listen to the Podcast of the interview click on the link below:

Civic Charity Tree at Charity Christmas Tree Festival

NCLS is delighted to be part of the years Civic Charity ‘Citizens Advice and partners’. This is a group of advice agencies making up the Norwich Financial Inclusion Consortium, helping City residents exercise their rights, promote equality and help reduce poverty across the city.

The tree’s theme is ‘Peace and Justice and can be viewed, along with others decorated by organisations and companies from across the city,  at St Peter Mancroft’s Church until the 8th December.

October 2019

NCLS Annual General Meeting

We held our Annual General Meeting on Monday 7th October in the Council Chambers in the City Hall.

The meeting was an opportunity to reflect on the development of the organisation over the last 15 years under the stewardship of our current Chief Executive Officer, Ros Brown,  who retired on Tuesday 8th October and also to welcome the new Chief Executive Officer, Jane Basham.

It was also an opportunity to celebrate the long partnership we have had with UEA and the UEA Law School – we recruit approximately 50 of their law students each year and they underpin the delivery of all our services – without their support we could not help as many vulnerable clients as we do. We also receive substantial funding from UEA which contributes towards our core costs.

NCLS has seen a substantial increase in demand for its services over the last few years due to the combined effect of the cuts to Legal Aid, Welfare Reform changes and cuts in public expenditure. We helped a total of 2,827 new clients in 2018/19, a 5.8% increase on the previous year, and the complexity of issues clients are presenting with also continues to increase.

We saw increasing numbers of clients affected by zero hours contracts, low incomes, high rents resulting from a lack of affordable housing and clawback of overpayment of benefits meaning that many simply do not have enough income to live on. This has been exacerbated by the rollout of Universal Credit in Norwich in October 2018 resulting in a reduction in benefit levels and delays in payments.

We have only been able to meet this demand because of the support we receive from our 135 volunteers who include including 65 private solicitors who generously give their time for free and about 20 community volunteers as well as the 50 law students referred to above.

One of the key roles of the law students is to represent welfare benefit clients at Tribunal helping them to successfully access benefits they are entitled to. Tribunal Service statistics show that clients have a much greater chance of success if they are represented. The Welfare Benefits Team represented at 338 hearings in 2018/2019,a 13% increase compared to 299 in 2017/18, which in itself was 32% higher than 2016/17.

NCLS is currently winning 83% of the appeal cases which go to Tribunal compared to the national average of 68%, both figures clearly illustrating that the DWP assessment process is flawed. The Welfare Benefits Team, combining paid advisers and law students, secured £2,160,441 in benefit payments for their clients in 2018/19 bringing the overall total since 2013 to just under £7 million which contributes to the local economy as well as helping individual claimants. Income is calculated on the basis of one year from the date of Tribunal when in practice many appellants are given two or three year awards.

Above: Ros Brown, who retired as CEO  on 8th October, and Liz Edwards MBE, founder of NCLS who retired as Board member on the same day.

August 2019

Justice First Fellowship

We are delighted to once again have the opportunity to recruit a trainee solicitor through The Justice First Fellowship.

The Justice First Fellowship Scheme was established in 2014 to support the next generation of students committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law.

For more information on opportunities through the scheme, including at NCLS, please visit the Justice First Fellowship Website, which can be found here. The closing date for all positions is 16th September.

May 2019

NCLS Win at UEA Talent Celebration Awards 2019

UEA’s careers service, Career Central, hosted an event to showcase excellence in student and employer engagement at the Sainsbury Centre, UEA on 7th May 2019.

NCLS was delighted be awarded the accolade of Most Supportive Voluntary Organisation in front of an invited audience of students, external organisations and Senior UEA Management. Gareth Thomas, Law Clinic Director said ‘Our excellent pro bono partners, Norfolk Community Law Service, have worked tirelessly for many years to create excellent opportunities for hundreds of our students’.

NCLS had nominated Sally Earl, Law Graduate and now computing master student and volunteer on our Welfare Benefits team for the Outstanding Student Volunteer Award and we are pleased to report that Sally was shortlisted and was runner up.

Judi Lincoln, Advice & Volunteer Manager with Oli Gray, Activities and Opportunities officer at the UEA Student Union.

November 2018

NCLS Decorates Tree at Charity Christmas Tree Festival
We were pleased to have the opportunity to decorate a tree for this years festival at St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich, organised by the Rotary Club. Along with stars made out of our logo we also have gold painted scales of justice, judges gabbles and scrolls to represent a legal theme. Other trees at the festival were decorated by local organisation including Leeway, Nelson’s Journey, Norwich City Football Club, Steeles Law, Jarrolds and John Lewis. The festival was free to visit, but donations were welcome and all funds raised went towards supporting Norfolk Blood Bikes. 

7th June 2018

Norwich Legal Walk

Norwich Legal Walk

The 2018 Norwich Legal Walk took place on 7th June. Naomi Newell from Birketts Solicitors, a former NCLS volunteer who last year started to give advice at our Free Legal Advice service, helped to organise the event and said the following:

Thank you to the over 200 sign-ups for the Norwich Legal Walk on Thursday 7 June 2018 – with over 160 attending in the end, this was the biggest Legal Walk yet. With around double the participants, the Access to Justice Foundation and Eastern Legal Support Trust (“ELST”) hope that we can smash the £5,000 fundraising target, which we have yet to do in our six years of organising Legal Walks in our fine city.

Participants joined us from chambers, private practice, charitable organisations and quasi-legal departments to raise funds for the ELST, which allocates funding to various charities across the region including NCLS. Many of the participating teams also chose to raise 50% of their funds directly in aid of NCLS and we are very grateful for this.

Leading the walkers were Charles Watt, the High Sheriff of Norfolk, Mike Napier CBE QC, Jacqueline Lake, the Norfolk Coroner, and Sue Bailey, Norfolk & Norwich Law Society President. Mr Watt thanked the walkers for their dedication to improving the lives of others through participating and fundraising in aid of access to justice. Ros Brown, NCLS Chief Executive, also thanked walkers and the ELST for their continued support, particularly as pro bono lawyers on NCLS’ advising rotas.

Walkers enjoyed Grosvenor’s fish or sausage and chips at the Birdcage pub, kindly sponsored by Olsen Recruitment, Norwich & Norfolk Law Society and the ELST. After a hearty 10km walk following a long day at walk, the food was greatly appreciated by all!

25th May 2017

NCLS Celebrates Return of UEA Law Student Volunteer as qualified Solicitor
Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS) is celebrating the success of its volunteering scheme as former volunteer and UEA Law student Naomi Newell returns as a qualified solicitor to give legal advice for free.

Judi Lincoln, NCLS Advice & Volunteer Manager, said ‘We are delighted that Naomi’s volunteering experience with NCLS has contributed to her successful qualification as a solicitor and  are very pleased to welcome her back to advise the increasing numbers of clients seeking help.

Naomi, a qualified Dispute Resolution Solicitor with Norwich firm Cozens Hardy Solicitors, volunteered with NCLS throughout her 4 years as a student at UEA.  

Naomi said ‘It is more important now than ever before that the legal profession does its bit for charities that provide much-needed free legal advice to the local community. I was fortunate enough to be involved with the volunteer scheme at NCLS when I was an undergraduate Law student at the UEA and I am thrilled to work for Cozens-Hardy LLP, which also supports NCLS. It was a very proud moment for me to sign my NCLS application form to enter onto the rota as a qualified solicitor after having started my degree in 2010 and I very much look forward to contributing, along with the other solicitors, to helping our local community.

NCLS hopes that Naomi’s application will be the first of a number of student volunteers who will return as successfully qualified solicitors.

23rd April 2017

Running in Support of Access to Justice
One of our wonderful volunteers, Chris Moore, ran the London Marathon on 23rd April in support of NCLS. Of his reasons for running in aid of us Chris said “Having access to justice is of high importance at a time when legal aid is very difficult to get. I know that NCLS’s work is hugely supported by volunteers without who they would not be able to provide the advice and representation that they do. It;s good to know that the money raised will be going directyl to support these services rather than being eaten up by high running costs.”

Chris completed the marathon in 3 hours and 44 minutes and so far has raised £440 for NCLS. Thank you Chris and well done!

Chris Marathon

2nd March 2017

NCLS featured in the Solictors Journal
Our CEO, Ros Brown, talks in the Solicitors Journal about the challenges bought about by cuts to Legal Aid and how NCLS is working to fil the gaps left by these cuts. The article also features ISCRE, who provide our Discrimination Advice Service.

The article can be found here.

10th December 2015

NCLS mentioned in the House of Lords
The work of NCLS in providing free legal advice was mentioned by Lord Howarth of Newport (Lab) in his Motion to take Note of the Cuts to Legal Aid. Whilst highlighting the problems that the cuts are bringing Lord Howarth said ‘Organisations such as the Norfolk Community Law Service are fighting back, for example by providing work experience for law students in their free legal advice services. But voluntary and pro bono work is no substitute for legal aid’.

It is great that the hard and valuable work of NCLS and its volunteers is being recognised during the period of change bought on by the transformation of Legal Aid.

A full transcript of the Motion can be found here.

26 February 2015

The Norfolk Community Law Service Welfare Benefits team is delighted to announce that December 2014 saw the Welfare Benefits service reach the impressive £1,000,000 milestone, in terms of income generated for our clients by overturning negative benefit decisions.

Since it was established in October 2012, the Welfare Benefits service has advised 1,082 clients about their social security appeals and has represented 214 clients before the First-tier Tribunal. We have also helped many more clients achieve favourable outcomes without the need to go all the way to a tribunal.

The service has made great use of the innovative partnership arrangement with the University of East Anglia’s Law School, which enables students from the UEA Law Clinic to volunteer for NCLS in various roles. The Welfare Benefits team trains students to represent clients at tribunals, with others trained in an administrative support role to work alongside our paid advisers.

The team is looking forwards to a busy and successful 2015. We are happy to receive referrals from other agencies, via the Norfolk Community Advice Network partnership, and directly from clients for advice regarding their social security appeals.