What happens when people with learning disabilities need advice about the law?


Here at Elf Towers, we strive to bring you the best evidence from published studies, but from time to time, we have the opportunity to talk to you about research that is just getting underway.

One such research project is being run by our friends at the Norah Fry Research Centre who are about to embark on an interesting piece of work, looking at the way people with learning disabilities get access to legal advice and services. The researchers on the project, are asking people to get involved and tell them about their experiences.

They want to hear about:

  • How family carers, friends and other supporters have helped people with learning disabilities get legal advice.
  • What legal advice family carers seek in their own right: (e.g. when making a will or establishing a trust)

If you would like to get involved in the research, You can help by agreeing to be interviewed over the telephone.

The researchers would like to talk to you if you have:

  • Supported a relative to get legal advice, whether or not they were successful in getting that advice
  • Sought legal advice about an issue relating to your status as a family carer
  • Helped other family carers get legal advice.

If you would like to know more about the project or arrange a time to speak with the researchers, you can phone them or email them:

Nour Shiyyab (t) 0117 3310975 (e) nour.shiyyab@bristol.ac.uk
Paul Swift (t) 07740 946564 (e) swpms@bristol.ac.uk

The research is being funded by the Legal Services Board, which is responsible for making sure the interests of people using legal services is at the heart of the regulatory system.

The Legal Services Board is interested in finding out about the experiences of people with learning disabilities when they need legal advice and the research team at Norah Fry will be looking what issues people with learning disabilities need advice about and how easy they find it to get the right advice. The team also hopes to make some comments about what could be done to make things more accessible.

There is more information about the project on the Norah Fry website and there is a short film you can watch which explains the project further.

We look forward to bringing you the results of the project later in the year.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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