Making the law work for Deaf people

Originally posted on the RAD Deaf Law Centre blog, Making the law work for Deaf people.

It’s a well established fact that RAD Deaf Law Centre’s vision is “making the law work for Deaf people”. But what does that mean?

Legal advice

As well as delivering legal advice in the traditional areas of law usually associated with Law Centres (employment, welfare benefits, housing, debt, discrimination, family law), RAD Deaf Law Centre also provides legal advice in relation to will-writing, conveyancing, family law, business support and employment and HR services through their sister company RAD Deaf Legal Enterprise Community Interest Company (CIC). In doing so, they are addressing the gap in legal advice provision across the board for Deaf people.

Law awareness training

RAD Deaf Law Centre provides free law awareness training to the Deaf community across the UK in order to address the common gap in knowledge which prevents them from benefitting from legal advice when they are able to get it. This was a finding through the “Making the law work for young Deaf people” report which equally applies to Deaf adults as well as young Deaf people.

Training for legal professionals, professionals working with Deaf people and BSL/English Interpreters

RAD Deaf Law Centre have a range of training courses including equality awareness, human rights awareness, Deaf awareness, legal interpreting, legal terminology and BSL, working with BSL/English Interpreters and recruitment and HR, all aimed to assist various professionals to work with Deaf people within a legal services context.

Deaf Law Quality Mark

RAD Deaf Law Centre’s Deaf Law Quality Mark standard aims to clarify access requirements for Deaf clients to ensure that law firms, Law Centres, chambers and other bodies delivering legal services have a clear understanding of what is expected of them in order to deliver high quality legal services to Deaf people.

Opportunities for Deaf law students

RAD Deaf Law Centre operates a work placement scheme for law students, and this year has provided 4 work placements to Deaf law students. It also aims to provide a training contract next year, which will give Deaf law graduates the opportunity to apply for a training contract with RAD Deaf Law Centre and RAD Deaf Legal Enterprise, with possible secondments to other Law Centres and/or law firms.

Webcam portal

RAD Deaf Law Centre is unique in that it is the only service provider in the UK to offer services through webcam and text chat. Recognising that technology is ever changing and ever improving, it is keen to stay one step ahead and offer technological solutions which are easy to use, effective and low cost or free. To this end, RAD Deaf Law Centre has launched a webcam portal utilising Video Relay Services technology developed by AuPix which features video, voice and real time text communication.

Who are the clients?

RAD Deaf Law Centre and RAD Deaf Legal Enterprise’s client base is broad. As well as providing services to D/deaf and hard of hearing people, it provides training to legal professionals, professionals working with Deaf people, BSL/English Interpreters.

RAD Deaf Legal Enterprise is more than happy to take instructions from hearing people such as BSL/English Interpreters (for who a range of extra services are on offer such as business support, debt recovery etc.), parents of D/deaf children, relatives of Deaf individuals etc. for will-writing, conveyancing, family law and business support.

Income generated through RAD Deaf Legal Enterprise will go back to RAD Deaf Law Centre to fund its pro bono activities. This makes RAD Deaf Legal Enterprise CIC somewhat different to its contemporaries: fees paid through this vehicle will have an enormous benefit for the Deaf community and not for profit-making purposes.

Interested?

If you are interested in any of RAD Deaf Law Centre’s services, go to http://www.deaflawcentre.org.uk/contact-us/ or email [email protected].

Rob

Deaf, hubby to Rachel, dad to Corey, Libby and Emily, Solicitor, Lecturer in Legal Practice at University of South Wales, PhD student at University of Leicester.

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