Institute Supports Matrix Chambers Legal Aid Link Project

By Institute Of Paralegals, PRNE
Monday, December 6, 2010

LONDON, December 7, 2010 - Like many others, the Institute is increasingly concerned about the
future of legal aid. Part of our response is to provide support for an
exciting new Matrix Chambers online project: Legal Aid Link (LAL).

LAL is a sophisticated online resource designed especially for those in
the legal aid field (see below for details). The Institute is providing a
comprehensive paralegal support section within LAL, and is also assisting
Matrix Chambers by acting as a vetting agent.

As a vetting agent, the Institute will help Matrix Chambers to review and
process applications from paralegals and others wishing to both view and/or
post content on LAL. Although LAL registration and use is free, applications
for access have to be approved.

James O'Connell, Chief Executive of the Institute said: "We are delighted
to be working with Matrix on the Legal Aid Link project. LAL gives legal aid
practitioners free access to online services and facilities that normally
have to be purchased at considerable cost."

Carol Storer, Director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group said: "The
legal aid sector is under great pressure, and so the LAPG welcomes any
initiative that provides tangible support to legal aid practitioners."

What is Legal Aid Link?

Legal Aid Link is hosted by Matrix Chambers and is funded by the Legal
Services Commission. Use of LAL is free of charge to anyone working in the
legal aid field.

LAL is an internet based resource designed especially for legal aid
professionals. Its aim is to enable those working in the legal aid field to
manage their cases, share information and develop campaigns efficiently.
Uniquely, it offers individuals or organisations the opportunity to easily
develop and customise their own resource to suit their needs. Information can
either be shared with all LAL users or restricted to selected people,
ensuring security of sensitive or privileged information.

How Does Legal Aid Link Work and Who Might Use it?

The LAL is designed in a similar way to social networking sites in that
it enables a user to set up a "community" (i.e. self-contained section on the
site), manage information on that community and determine who has access to
that information.

Imagine you work as an adviser in a law centre or small legal aid firm,
and you want a quick way to share information with your client and relevant
third parties. You can create a "community" for your case and invite your
client and solicitor/barrister and/or other relevant parties to join it. You
can create a place in your community to upload any documents, questions,
hearing dates, case law and so on. Everything is contained in one place on
the Internet, accessible anytime, anywhere. Access to selected confidential
documents can restricted to approved persons.

You may want updates on matters of law and policy in your area of
practice. The LAL enables you to view content developed and shared by others
in the field and to promote best practice and partnership working.

Alternatively, you may be working in a financially challenging
environment in the legal aid field (and who isn't?) and simply want access to
a free resource that you or your firm can customise to fill a gap in your IT
infrastructure that you would otherwise have to pay a commercial supplier to

Registering with Legal Aid Link

Registration is free, but restricted to those who work in the legal aid
field. Any paralegal, other person or organisation working in legal aid can
apply direct to the Institute for registration.

Law undergraduates looking to work in the legal aid field can register
through the Institute, as can university law schools and FE colleges.

Please email office @ (NB note break in link) giving brief
details of who you are, what level of registration you want (viewer or to set
up your own space) and your involvement in the legal aid field.

We regretfully cannot accept registration applications from providers
looking to sell goods or services to legal aid practitioners.

What Stage is Development at?

This exciting project has literally only just gone live, and so has yet
to become populated. As an early collaborator, the Institute is one of the
first to post public content. We particularly welcome registration
applications from persons or organisations wishing to post their own content.

Note to Editors

1. The Institute's collaboration with the world famous Matrix Chambers is
another of the Institute's projects to create a proper and well rounded
professional infrastructure for paralegals. It bolsters recent Institute
efforts to give paralegal volunteer advisers access to existing pro bono
programs; the Institute's work with various government agencies on enhanced
rights for paralegals and the Institute/New York Paralegal Association joint
creation of transatlantic paralegal competency standards for firms with
offices in both jurisdictions.

2. For background information on the Institute please visit our media
centre page on our main website, where you can also access previous press
releases: click here (

3. Whilst a growing list of organisations focus on the potentially
lucrative paralegal training market, the Institute consistently works on the
non-commercial aspects of the developing paralegal profession, e.g.
competency standards, career paths, paralegal apprenticeships, management
standards for paralegal law firms, dialogue with the judiciary and Bar about
dealing with paralegals, regulatory matters and offering careers advice and
mentoring programmes to schools etc.

4. The IOP is the largest paralegal professional body in the UK. It is
the oldest incorporated professional body for paralegals in the UK and is the
oldest not-for-profit paralegal body in England & Wales. The IOP was formed
in 2003 and granted institute status by the government in 2005 (its
application being supported by inter alia, The Law Society, Bar Council,
Citizens Advice and Crown Prosecution Service). Visit our web site

5. The Institute also publishes The Paralegal - the UK's leading
publication for all paralegals. For more information click here.

Quick Links

The Institute of Paralegals: click here (

The Paralegal e-journal: click here (

Matrix Chambers: click here (

Legal Aid Link entry portal: click here (

Legal Aid Practitioners Group: click here (

Institute Contact Information

Within the United Kingdom:
Telephone: 020-7099-9122 or fax: 020-7904-3750

Outside the United Kingdom:
Telephone: +44(0)20-7099-9122 or fax: +44(0)20-7904-3750

Visit our website ( or email us (

Institute Contact Information: Within the United Kingdom: Telephone: 020-7099-9122 or fax: 020-7904-3750; Outside the United Kingdom: Telephone: +44(0)20-7099-9122 or fax: +44(0)20-7904-3750; or email us (james at

will not be displayed