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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 16:21 GMT
Advocates offer services for free
Donald Findlay
Donald Findlay is one of the advocates signed up to the scheme
Some of Scotland's leading lawyers, including Donald Findlay, are offering their services free to people who fail to qualify for legal aid.

A total of 63 members of the Faculty of Advocates have signed up to a programme in which they offer advice and representation at courts and tribunals.

This includes immigration appeals, employment disputes and eviction hearings.

The cases are referred by advice agencies.

The Free Legal Services Unit (FLSU) has received the support of Liberal Democrat leader and faculty member Sir Menzies Campbell QC.

I hope that the FLSU demonstrates that advocates are more than willing to put something back into the community
Stephen Woolman
Faculty of Advocates

Chairman Stephen Woolman QC said: "Members of faculty take their obligations of public service seriously.

"People are often presented with the image of 'fat cat lawyers'.

'Very helpful'

"I hope that the FLSU demonstrates that advocates are more than willing to put something back into the community."

Agencies involved in the scheme include Citizens Advice Scotland, Shelter Housing Law Service and the Scottish Child Law Centre.

They refer clients to the unit, where a panel will decide whether its lawyers can help.

Maureen Docherty, service manager for the Community Help and Advice Initiative, said: "We have used the FLSU for advice for ourselves, representation for clients and training for staff.

"It has proved very helpful for us and for our clients."

Mr Findlay has been involved in some of Scotland's biggest cases, including the Kriss Donald and Jodi Jones murder trials.

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