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National Homeless Advice Service

Finding specialist legal advice for young people

In some cases, a young person will need to be referred for legal advice.

Finding a specialist legal adviser

To find out which organisations and solicitors offer legal aid services in housing locally, check on the Legal Adviser Finder.

If you cannot find a specialist legal adviser locally, and your client is 16 or 17 years old, the Coram Children’s Legal Centre might be able to help.

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Effective referral to a solicitor

You are more likely to be able to make a referral to a specialist legal aviser if you have a pre-existing relationship with them than if you phone up with an emergency case that needs to be taken on that day. Contact them in advance to discuss the kind of problems your clients are likely to experience and referral arrangements. Explain that you may have emergency cases the time in time (for example, where a young person is homeless and may have to sleep rough) and ask about how to refer your client in these circumstances.

Legal advisers will often need lots of information about a case. When making a referral to them, make sure that, if possible, you have the following ready to send to them:

  • your case notes, including details of the client, the situation and any action you have taken so far
  • any correspondence and notes on any telephone conversations in respect of the case (remember to get written decisions from the agencies that you have been advocating to on behalf of the young person where possible)
  • a copy of the client’s file from the council where applicable
  • evidence of the client’s income (for example, proof of receipt of benefits) - this will be important if the client needs to apply for legal aid
  • form of authority.

If either the young person or the legal adviser request it, you can accompany the young person to the appointment, provided this is acceptable to both the adviser and the young person.

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