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What to expect

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we can only advise you if you have an appointment. We have made changes to our normal pattern of working because of the pandemic.

The process of getting help

  • Once you have returned our Request an Appointment form, we will reply by e-mail either sending you a link to enable you to make an appointment or saying that we are unable to assist you.
  • If we cannot help you, we will signpost you another source of advice, if we can.
  • It is up to you to make an appointment at one of our face-to-face consultations, which are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at our new premises – The Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU.
  • Our appointment slots are stated as 45 minutes, and we will do our best to see you within that slot. Please bear with us if we are running late.
  • When you attend at the Centre, we will create an electronic file on our case management system with all the information in it.
  • The case will then be allocated to a volunteer adviser, who will either be present in person, or who will advise you face-to-face using Zoom or a similar program – you will be shown to a computer, and a volunteer will be on hand to assist you.
  • Our advisers offer time-limited appointments – usually 20 – 30 minutes.
  • The adviser may respond with one of the following:
    1. Advice there and then, if that is all that is needed.
    2. A draft of a letter for you to send to the other side. You will be asked to contact SWLAC again once you get a reply, or if further advice is needed.
    3. Preparation of other documents (such as Court papers), if appropriate.
  • At any time, we may say that we cannot help you, or cannot help you any further.

Help us to help you

All of our volunteers are advising voluntarily and unpaid, and most at the end of the day’s work. They do it because they want to. Sometimes there are unavoidable delays in them leaving work.

Please respect our staff, and the fact that they are giving up their own time to help others.

What to bring

  • Please arrange relevant documents in your case (such as letters) in date order, so that the earliest letter is on the top.
  • If your case concerns a contract such as a tenancy agreement or an employment contract, please have it to hand for your appointment.
  • If you have access to a scanner, please scan the documents in date order onto a USB stick, so that you can e-mail these to us if your adviser asks you to.
  • If you are able to, please prepare a list (in date order) of the main events relating to the advice that you are seeking.
  • If you think it would be helpful, you can have someone with you during the appointment, to communicate or translate for you.