Legal centre to provide free service

THE Launceston Community Legal Centre will offer a free  after-hours drop-in service -  the first in Northern Tasmania in more than 10 years.

The advice and referral service will start on  February 5.

It will run weekly from 5.30pm to 7pm for six months.

After that  time, the service will continue indefinitely if there is the demand for it.

Nine volunteer lawyers have signed up to help so far, including barristers and solicitors with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

Two volunteer lawyers and one LCLC solicitor will work during each session.

LCLC chief executive Nicky Snare said she hoped that the new service would expand to include free, non-legal expertise from other community organisations, such as social workers or financial counsellors.

Volunteer solicitor Sheryl-lee Schuh, a civil law practitioner and partner with Pedder Schuh Lawyers, said she had chosen to volunteer because she wanted to give something back to the community.

``I also recognise the need for this kind of service, because I know from my practice that there are a lot of people out there who, with rising legal costs, just don't have access to legal services and they are being deprived of access to those services,'' she said.

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