Legal / Crime

We all have rights and responsibilities laid down in legislation. This section gives some information about the legal system and the police and where to go if you need help. If you cannot find the information you need you may wish to visit our other sections for more specific information about tribunal and court action in that chosen subject. 

1. LEGAL ACTION

This section includes information if you are involved in court action, either because you have started action against someone or if you have been called as a witness. If a creditor has taken court action for debt, you should visit out DEBT section. Information about tribunals can be found in our BENEFITS and WORK sections. 

ALTERNATIVES TO COURT

What alternatives are there to court

If you have a legal problem, you might have to go to court to sort it out. But going to court can be slow, expensive and stressful. There are other ways to resolve your problem known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Click here to find out more about the options available.
Source: Citizens Advice

Seven steps - How to solve an everyday legal problem

There are laws to protect us from being treated unfairly, but it still happens. When it does we have to stand up for ourselves – but it isn't always easy. It's often hard to know who is in the right, where to start, or what to do. That is, until you know how.

Find out more information here
Source: Advice Now

GOING TO COURT (CIVIL AND CRIMINAL)

Courts of Law

Information on the court system covering the county court, magistrates court, Crown Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

General Court Action

If you've got a legal problem, for example, you want to get your deposit back from your landlord, or claim compensation after an accident, you might think about going to court to sort it out.
Before you go any further you need to find out what is involved, understand the steps you have to take and consider if you can solve your problem another way without going to court.
This series of leaflets takes you step-by-step through the issues and options.

Find the leaflets here
Source: Advice Now

Forms and Guidance

This link lets you search for court forms and guidance.
Source: HM Courts and Tribunal Services

Representing yourself in court

A guide for people going to court without a lawyer. Includes general information on how to find free or affordable help with a legal problem; putting your case together and starting and defending a claim, to help you familiarise yourself with how the legal process works. Also includes more detailed information on specific areas of law.

Find the guide here
Source: Bar Council

How to find information about representing yourself in court

Links to further information about representing yourself in court can be found by clicking here
Source: Advice Now

A guide to the criminal courts

This link gives basic information on the different courts that deal with criminal proceedings. Has further links covering what happens in court and who's who.
Source: Victim Support

Going to court as a victim or witness

This link provides information on your rights, what to expect. There is also information for young witnesses,
Source: Victim Support

Court and tribunal fees

You might have to pay a fee If you go to a civil or family court or tribunal in England or Wales.

Click here to find out more.
Source: Gov.uk

Finding a court or tribunal near you

Click here to find contact details and information about courts and tribunals.
Source: Gov.uk

Jury Service

Explains what to do if you have been sent a jury summons and how long jury service usually takes. It also covers information on taking time off work and claiming expenses.

Find out more information here
Source: Gov.uk

MAKING A CLAIM FOR MONEY

Making a money claim

This link tells you about how you can make a claim and how the claim is dealt with. It also gives information about how to enforce any judgment that you may have obtained
Source: Gov.uk

Small Claims

Links to information on the small claims procedure including taking a case through the procedure, appeals and enforcement of court orders can be found here
Source: Citizens Advice

Make a money claim online

You can take court action against someone if they owe you money and won’t pay you back.

This link allows you to make claim online.
Source: Gov.uk

Appyling to make someone bankrupt

You have to present a bankruptcy petition to a court if you want to bankrupt someone because they owe you money. A bankruptcy petition is an application to the court for someone’s assets to be taken and sold to pay their debts.

This link will give you more information about the process.
Source: Gov.uk

DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

Applying For Divorce

This link leads you to a guide which describes, from start to finish, the process for applying for a divorce without a solicitor. The guide deals only with the divorce - not with the two related areas of financial settlements and child contact and residence.
Source: Wikivorce

Financial settlements and divorce

At the time of divorce or separation it is very important that you both agree and sign a legally binding financial agreement. This link gives you more information on the law, a step by step guide through the process and information on agreements.
Source: Wikivorce

Divorce Court Forms

Links and guides to the forms needed for divorce proceedings can be found here
Source: Wikivorce

INJUNCTIONS

Injunctions are orders which usually prevent someone from doing something. We have provided guidance on situations when you are most likely to use them

What is an Injunction?

Injunctions are court orders which might tell a person that they are not allowed to do a certain act.
This link gives information on injunctions through questions and answers.
Sources: Compact Law

Domestic Violence Injunctions

This link describes the different types of injunctions available, depending on your relationship. For more information on domestic violence please visit our RELATIONSHIPS AND FAMILY section
Source: Compact Law

Property Injunctions - different types of injunctions relating to physical property

All the following injunctions have to be applied for in the High Court and may require you to promise the court you will pay your opponent's costs if it turns out you did not have a good reason to apply or you eventually lose your case. Most of these kind of injunctions will have what is called a "Penal Notice". This warns your opponent that if they break the order they could be sent to prison.

Find out more information here
Source: Compact Law

INQUESTS

Information on Inquests

If someone you know has died, or you are helping someone you know deal with a death where an inquest is to be held, The Inquest Handbook will give you information about the inquest procedure and what will happen after a sudden, violent or unnatural death.

It contains information and advice on the process before and during an inquest, including when you may need legal advice and how to find and fund it.

Find out more information here
Source: Inquest

 

APPEALS

Disputing a sentence or conviction

You may wish to appeal a decision to convict or sentence. 
For information on how to appeal a Magistrate's Court or crown Court decision, click here
Source: Gov.uk

2. GETTING LEGAL ADVICE

Do you need legal advice?

If you have a problem that you need help with, you may need legal advice to resolve it. You can get help from a legal adviser who specialises in your problem such as a solicitor or there are many other organisations who may be able to help you.

This link gives an overview of the types of legal advice available and where to get advice.
Source: Citizens Advice

Using a legal adviser

Finding a legal adviser, information on using a solicitor, solicitors' costs and bills, and using a barrister through the public access scheme.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Finding a solicitor

Run by the Law Society, Find a Solicitor is a free service for anyone looking for information about organisations or people providing legal services in England and Wales that are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Find out more information here
Source: Law Society

How to prepare for seeing a solicitor or adviser
If you have an appointment to see a solicitor or adviser about your issue, you will need to prepare to get the most out of it. Check out these tips for what to say, what to take, and what to expect.

Find out more information here
Source: Advice Now

Complaints about legal advisers

If you're unhappy about the service you have received from your legal adviser, you may wish to make a complaint. You can do this by using the firm's complaints procedure. If this does not resolve the matter, you can then complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

This link explains how to make a complaint about your legal adviser.
Source: Citizens Advice

 

3. HELP WITH LEGAL COSTS

Legal aid can help pay for legal advice, family mediation or representation in court or at a tribunal.
This section tells you more about when you can get legal aid and includes a checker which asks you questions to determine whether you qualify for legal aid. There is also useful information on where you may get free legal representation.

Help with legal costs - free or affordable help

If you need legal advice and you can't afford to pay for it, you may be able to get free or affordable help or advice in other ways. Find out how you can go about getting legal help when you need it.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Help with legal costs - legal aid

Getting help with legal costs through civil and criminal legal aid including what cases you can get legal aid for, the financial conditions for getting legal aid, how to apply and paying court fees.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

Check if you can get legal aid

Legal aid can help pay for legal advice, family mediation or representation in court or at a tribunal.
You’ll be asked general questions about your legal problem and your financial situation.

Find out more information here
Source: Gov.uk

4. PRIVACY AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Accessing your information

This link contains useful template letters to help you make a subject access request and complaint letters if a request has been refused.
Source: Information Commissioner

How to access information from a public body

Under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations you have a right to request any recorded information held by a public authority, such as a government department, local council or state school.

This link provides guidance on what information you can access and how you request it.
Source: Information Commissioner

CCTV

Most uses of CCTV will be covered by the Data Protection Act. This gives you the right to see information held about you, including CCTV images of you, or images which give away information about you (such as your car number plate).

Find out more information here
Source: Information Commissioner

Social Networking

Millions of people all over the world use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to meet, chat and message each other on line. Use the link below to find out more about how safe it is to share personal information like this and how can you protect your privacy.

Find out more information here
Source: Information Commissioner

Unwanted Marketing- Junk Mail

Are you fed up with receiving junk mail, spam or sales calls? Do you wonder how organisations got your details and how you can stop them contacting you?

This link gives information on how to prevent unwanted texts, telephone calls and letters.
Source: Information Commissioner

Identity Fraud and Identity Theft

Are you fed up with receiving junk mail, spam or sales calls? Do you wonder how organisations got your details and how you can stop them contacting you?

This link gives information on how to prevent unwanted texts, telephone calls and letters.
Source: Information Commissioner

Make or Browse Freedom of Information Requests

Use this online tool to complete a Freedom of Information Request. You can also look at other requests that have been archived.

Find the tool here
Source: What do they know

5. CRIMINAL RECORDS

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

This link explains who can request a DBS, the process and what you can do if yu are unhappy with the information supplied
Source: Gov.uk

Ex-offenders and employment

Employers can’t turn someone down for a job because they’ve been convicted of an offence if the conviction or caution is ‘spent’ - unless an exception applies. This link gives more information about rehabilitation periods. If you are still unsure whether a conviction is `spent` check the calculator under HELPFUL TOOLS

Find out more information here
Source: Gov.uk

6. POLICE

Cleveland Police

Find out information about your local police with this link force including information on local priorities and standards here
Source: Cleveland Police

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner

A Police and Crime Commissioner represents the interests of local communities and sets the priorities for the Force and prepares the Police and Crime Plan.

Click here to find out more about this role and what they do.
Source: Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner

Police Powers

This link gives information on the powers of the police of the police to stop and search, enter premises, arrest and detain, legal help, and further sources of help in making a complaint against the police.
Source: Citizens Advice

Ask the Police

This link is to a database which is intended to reduce the number of non-emergency calls to police forces by providing the answers direct to the public via the Internet. The database contains answers to a wide selection of nationally asked questions and the facility for forces to input local information. The information can also be downloaded as an app which can be accessed under section 13 below - HELPFUL TOOLS.
Source: Ask the Police

Police Complaints

Explains how to make a complaint against the police, how the Independent Police Complaints Commission can help and what to include in your complaint. The information is available in a range of other formats including other languages.

Find the information here
Source: Independent Police Complaints Commission

7. PRISONERS

Find a prison

Get information about prisons throughout the UK here
Source: Justice

Prisoners rights

As a prisoner you have special rights and there are rules about how you can be treated.
This link will help you sort out problems you might have when you are in prison and tell you what your rights are. You will more information under FAQs and leaflets under HELPFUL TOOLS.
Source: Citizen Advice

Staying in touch with someone in prison

This link gives information about how you can stay in touch with someone in prison.
Source: Gov.uk

Visiting a prisoner

This link gives information on what to bring with you as a visitor and who to contact if you need financial assistance to visit someone
Source: Prison reform Trust

8. PERSONAL INJURY AND ACCIDENTS

Accident or negligence?

Accidents do happen, and no-one can claim compensation where nobody is at fault, even when the injuries are severe.

This link takes you to a booklet which explains the difference.
Source: Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal Injuries

This link provides information on how to make a complaint about a personal injury, including criminal injuries, claiming compensation and taking legal action.
Source: Citizens Advice

Support following an injury

Getting help, support and after care are equally as important and there are many charitable organisations who will be able to provide assistance and guide you through this difficult time. You can use the link below to look for a suitable support service that can help you through.

Find out more information here
Source: Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Compensation if you have been a victim of crime

If you become a victim of crime, you may be able to get financial compensation in a number of ways.

Find out more information here
Source: Victim Support

9. HUMAN RIGHTS

What are human rights?

This link explains what human rights are.
Source: Liberty

What rights are protected under the Human Rights Act?

This link provides information on the different rights including the right to life and the right to respect family life and the right to a fair trial.
Source: Citizen Advice

How are your human rights protected by the courts?

The link below explains how courts must protect human rights when applying the law and which laws the courts must apply, even if they breach the Human Rights Act 1998.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizen Advice

Who's breaching your human rights?

Explains how the Human Rights Act 1988 protects you from a public authority, or private organisation carrying out a public function.
Source: Citizen Advice
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/law_e/law_civil_rights_e/law_human_rights_e/hr4_who_is_breaching_your_human_rights.htm

Human rights relevant to mental health

A brief legal guide to the Human Rights Act, including details of where you can go for further information or support can be found here
Source: MIND

Human Rights and Carers

This handy pocket guide provides practical information on how the Human Rights Act is relevant to carers and the people they care for. With accessible explanations of the law, examples and real case studies, our guide shows how human rights can empower people in their discussions with public services.

Find out more information here
Source: British Institute of Human Rights

Human rights for children and young people

The Human Rights Act enables UK citizens, including children and young people, to seek to protect their European Convention on Human Rights through UK courts.

This link explains how human rights apply to children, as well as other laws that protect children's rights.
Source: Children’s Rights Alliance England

10. GOVERNMENT AND VOTING

Excercising your right to vote in Stockton Borough

Stockton Borough Council are keen to make sure that every eligible Stockton Borough resident can, if they wish, exercise their right to vote.

Find the information you need to ensure that you can participate in local democracy here
Source: Stockton Borough Council

Registering to vote

The way people register to vote has changed. A new system of registration was introduced in June 2014 to ensure greater confidence as to the identity of electors and improve access to the registration process.

For information about how you register, click here
Source: Stockton Borough Council

How to vote

Find information about how to vote, poll cards and polling stations, and information for disabled voters here
Source: The Electoral Commission

Councillors and Council Meetings

Local Councillors are the people elected every four years to represent your interests in local affairs. Each Councillor represents a small area, or ward, and the people who live within that area.

Use this link to find out who your local councillor is and how to contact them
Source: Stockton Borough Council

Who represents you?

Contact your Councillors, MP, MEPs, MSPs The link below makes it easy for you to contact your representative, even if they don't know who they are. Use the link to enter your postcode and find out who represents you then write and send a letter online.

Find out more information here
Source: Write to them

About Parliament

Information about Parliament. Includes how Parliament works, how Parliament checks up on the work of Government, bills before Parliament, and information about MPs, peers and key officers.

Find out more information here
Source: Parliament.uk

11. LICENSES AND PERMISSIONS

Licences and Permissions

Information on activities which need a licence or official permission, how to apply and where to get further information can be found here
Source: Citizens Advice

Applying for a licence or permission from Stockton Borough Council

Stockton Council is responsible for the issue of a wide variety of business licences and permits.

Find out more information here
Source: Stockton Borough Council

13. HELPFUL TOOLS

We have provided a variety of tools below to help you with your problem but if you still need help, you can click on FIND LOCAL AGENCIES WHO CAN HELP YOU for information about local agencies who may be able to assist you further.

Click on the links below to be taken to your desired section.

CALCULATORS

Disclosure Calculator

This calculator establishes when criminal convictions become "spent" under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Find out more information here
Source: Home Protect

APPS

My Legal Places

From police stations to law courts, Citizens Advice Bureau to Community Legal Offices - the application identifies your nearest key service, pinpoints it on a map, and provides you with full contact details, that can be saved and added to your favourites.

Find the application here
Source: Apple

Ask the Police

The Ask the Police application is intended to provide the general public with information on a wide range of non-emergency ‘policing’ issues – at a time to suit them.The app contains accurate, legally verified answers to over 750 of the questions most frequently asked by the public across England and Wales. Each police force also has the facility to add local information, which can be viewed by selecting a specific force area prior to accessing the question bank.

Find the application here
Source: Google

LEAFLETS AND FACT SHEETS

Court Action
This series of leaflets takes you step-by-step through the issues and options
Find the leaflets here
Source: Advice Now

A survival guide to divorce and dissolution
This guide will explain how divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships work, what you can expect, what you need to think about, what the law says, how to come to agreements, and what help is out there to help you plan for the future.
Find the guide here
Source; Advice Now

Sorting out arrangements for your children - a survival guide
This guide is for parents who do not live together and need to make arrangements for their children.
Find the guide here
Advice Now

Prison-Information booklets and leaflets
Find the information book here
Source: Prison Reform Trust

A-Z help for prisoners and their families
Find the fact sheet here
Source: Prison Reform Trust

Advice following an injury
APIL's series of factsheets offers information and guidance on injuries and the law.
Find the fact sheets here.
Source: Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Ours to own : Understanding human rights
This guide looks at what human rights mean in the context of everyday life, how they have affected real people and why they are therefore so important.
Find the guide here
Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission

 

Letters

Accessing your information

This link contains useful template letters to help you make a subject access request and complaint letters if a request has been refused.
Source: Information Commissioner

FAQS

Divorce Proceedings
Source: Wikivorce
http://www.wikivorce.com/divorce/Resources/Library/FAQs_s3_m1852.html

Legal Matters
Source: Citizens Advice
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/law_e/faq_index_legal_matters.htm

Your information- how it can be used
Source: Information Commissioner
http://ico.org.uk/Global/faqs

Police Complaints
Source: Independent Police Complaints Commission
http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/faqs

Prisoner’s Rights
Source: Citizens Advice
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/law_e/prisoners_fact_sheets.htm

Human Rights and Children
Source: Children's Rights Alliance for England
http://www.crae.org.uk/childrens-rights-the-law/faqs/

NATIONAL HELPLINES

Witness Service- Teesside Crown Court
You can contact the Victim Support team at Teesside Crown Court to help direct you to the Witness Telephone 01642 343 081

Wikivorce Divorce Advice Helpline
Free advice on divorce and separation
Telephone from a landline: 0800 44 88 66 44
Mobile Friendly local rate: 01202 80 50 20


Information Commissioner
Helpline for advice about privacy and accessing your information
Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Action Fraud
You can report and get advice on fraud or internet crime
Telephone: 0300 123 2040

Offenders Family Helpline
Getting advice on behalf of a family member or friend who is in prison
Telephone: 0808 808 2003

Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service
Information and advice for families and friends of prisoners. They can also send you a pack full of useful information about prison visits, prison transfers, home detention curfew (tagging), preparing for release, where else to get help and more.
Telephone (Free) 0808 808 3444

The Equality Advisory Support Service
The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) provides advice services to individuals who think they may have experienced discrimination or their human rights have been breached.
Freephone Telephone 0808 800 0082

Liberty
Liberty is a human rights organisation that runs a free human rights advice service for members of the public and voluntary organisations.
Telephone 0203 145 0461 or 0845 123 2307

Citizens Advice
Advice by phone is available from Citizens Advice Bureaux 
Telephone: 0344 2451295

PODCASTS AND VIDEOS

Going to Court as a Witness

Click here to be taken to a series of short videos which tell you more about being a witness and giving evidence at court
Source: Ministry of Justice

Human Rights

Links to film clips where different people talk about how the Human Rights Act helped them can be found here
Source: Liberty

WEBSITES USED IN THIS SECTION

About Parliament

Information about Parliament. Includes how Parliament works, how Parliament checks up on the work of Government, bills before Parliament, and information about MPs, peers and key officers.
http://www.parliament.uk/

Action for Prisoner’s Families

Action for Prisoners' and Offenders' Families works for the benefit of prisoners' and offenders' families by representing the views of families and those who work with them and by promoting effective work with families.
http://www.prisonersfamilies.org.uk/

Ask the Police

The Police National Legal Database (PNLD) is wholly owned by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and is under the day to day control of his office.
www.askthe.police.uk

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has been fighting for the rights of injured people for nearly 25 years. A not-for-profit campaign organisation. Over the years APIL has grown to become the leading, most respected organisation in this field, constantly working to promote and develop expertise in the practise of personal injury law, for the benefit of injured people.
www.apil.org.uk

Bar Council

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes the Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services, fair access to justice for all, the highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and the development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.
http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/

Childrens Rights Alliance

CRAE is a membership body for organisations and individuals committed to our vision: a society where the human rights of all children are recognised and realised.
http://www.crae.org.uk/about-us/

Cleveland Police

Information on the police force covering Stockton Borough
www.cleveland.police.uk

Compact Law

CompactLaw was formed in 1996 and was the first company in the UK to provide free legal information and services via the Internet.
http://www.compactlaw.co.uk/

Electoral Commission

The independent elections watchdog and regulator of party and election finance
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are

Gov.uk

The websites of all government departments and many other agencies and public bodies
www.gov.uk

HM Courts and Tribunal Service

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is an agency of the Ministry of Justice. The agency is responsible for the administration of the criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales and non-devolved tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
http://www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmcts/

Unlock

Unlock is an independent award-winning charity which provides information, advice, training and advocacy, dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions.
http://www.unlock.org.uk/

Justice

JUSTICE is an all-party law reform and human rights organisation working to strengthen the justice system – administrative, civil and criminal – in the United Kingdom. Our vision is of fair, accessible and efficient legal processes, in which the individual's rights are protected, and which reflect the country's international reputation for upholding and promoting the rule of law.
http://www.justice.org.uk/

Information Commissioner

The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
http://ico.org.uk

Inquest

Inquest is a small charitable organisation with a staff team of seven and the only organisation in England and Wales that provides a specialist, comprehensive advice service to bereaved people, lawyers, other advice and support agencies, the media, MPs and the wider public on contentious deaths and their investigation.
http://www.inquest.org.uk/about/home

Liberty

Liberty is also known as the National Council for Civil Liberties. Founded in 1934, they are a cross party, non-party membership organisation at the heart of the movement for fundamental rights and freedoms in the UK.They promote the values of individual human dignity, equal treatment and fairness as the foundations of a democratic society.
https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/

Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service

Prisoners' Families and Friends Service (PFFS) provides practical help for prisoners' families
http://www.pffs.org.uk/about/

Prison Reform Trust

A trust working for better conditions and rights for prisoners
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk

MIND

MIND provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
www.mind.org.uk

Ministry of justice

The MoJ work to protect the public and reduce reoffending, and to provide a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public.
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice

Stockton Borough Council

The Local Authority site for Stockton on Tees
www.stockton.gov.uk

Victim Support

Victim Support is the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. We were set up 40 years ago and have grown to become the oldest and largest victims' organisation in the world.
www.victimsupport.org.uk

What do they Know

This site is ran by My Society and assists you to formulate a request and send it to the right contact in the right department of your chosen authority.
https://www.mysociety.org/projects/freedom-of-information/whatdotheyknow/

wikivorce

Wikivorce is an interactive web community, dedicated to delivering free access to the
information, support and advice people need following the breakdown of a serious relationship.
http://www.wikivorce.com/divorce/

Write to them

The short answer is that WriteToThem is run by the charity mySociety, with the aim of making it easier to contact your representatives.
https://www.writetothem.com/