Legal Advice Clinic for LGBTQ+ Issues Reaches Milestone | New

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A clinic specifically designed to meet the legal needs of the LGBTQ+ community is about to celebrate a successful first year.

The Cardiff LGBTQ+ Law Clinic was set up in May 2021 to provide free legal advice to individuals across the country, and is set to respond to 100 inquiries during this time.

Lawyer Hussein Said helped set up the clinic with the idea of ​​supporting the trans community, but it grew over time and expanded its reach to a wider group. It is the only organization in the country designed to specifically address the legal needs of LGBTQ+ people.

Now staffed by around 20 volunteers – mostly Cardiff University law students – the clinic has linked up with firms such as Eversheds and Capital Law to refer complex cases to specialist lawyers.

“The goal of the clinic is to make it clear that LGBTQ+ people need help just like anyone else,” Said said. “It can be very difficult for trans people in particular to easily access help.”

This problem has been confirmed by the number of people asking for help obtaining a gender recognition certificate, saying they cannot find a lawyer willing to guide them through the legal process.

The clinic initially expected to receive the majority of inquiries from people needing advice on immigration, employment or family matters. Said explained that although these calls have been received, there have been a large number of questions relating to defamation issues.

He added: “We’re starting to see a lot of powerful and wealthy people using their influence to shut people up.”

Close contacts with law firms have been central to the clinic’s successes so far. Legal advisers are able to take attendance notes and other details from people and lawyers come to the clinic to provide advice if needed.

The clinic has already helped secure a £16,000 settlement in an employment case and averted the threat of a libel action against a trans disabled activist.

The clinic has also provided support for LGBTQ+ people working in law firms who may feel unable to be honest with their colleagues.

Volunteer Sonia Aazem added: “Maybe some companies think they don’t need to talk to the LGBTQ+ community because they think they’re separate. Just hearing us talk about the clinic feels like there’s room in the legal community [for LGBTQ+ people].

“It’s important to raise awareness that these dynamics are in play – they don’t just start when someone leaves the office to go home.”

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