Free Legal Aid group sees 10% increase in requests

Free Legal Aid group, FLAC, is reporting a 10% rise in the number of people who looked for its help last year.

More than 27,5000 people were assisted by FLAC in 2013, according to its newly published annual report.

The main questions that people raised were family problems, employment issues and debt worries on both the lo-call information line 1890 350 250 and in the evening free advice centres.

FLAC's Director General Noeline Blackwell says the figures show a rise of 83% in the number of issues involving tenants and landlords.

She said: "It’s not just the number of enquiries that we should note, but also that people seem to have more complex questions, with those in trouble finding their lives ever harder to manage.

This is why, as well as giving people basic information and advice, FLAC also seeks changes to the legal system which would make it fairer and allow people better access to their rights.

"Sometimes, they just need to be able to talk to a lawyer but the structures and systems that exist often mystify people; they can’t get justice because they can’t negotiate the systems. Our work in 2013 involved getting information and advice to those who needed it and also challenging unfair systems where they hinder access to justice."

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