Advicenow fact file
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Advicenow delivers three core services:
- We bring together the best internet information on law-related issues and make it available through our top picks search.
- We produce guides providing practical guidance on how to deal with law-related issues.
- We campaign to improve the quality of legal information by stimulating debate about the need for information and by producing resources and training for those engaged in producing public legal information.
About Advicenow 'top picks' search
Handpicked pieces of quality information, sourced from the best providers, tailored for your needs.
All shapes and sizes
From fast facts and top tips to detailed leaflets and step-by-step guides there's something to suit everyone.
If you have a law-related problem or want to know more about the law and your rights, don't wade through endless internet pages. Just type a word or phrase into the Advicenow search box. We'll present you with a choice of hand-selected, quality-checked results.
In the Advicenow handpicked search you can find the web's best information on the law and rights. We've gathered together information from over 450 UK websites, checked that it's up-to-date, and covers the issues that are important to you.
How to use our 'Top' picks search
Either select a topic from Categories, or type a descriptive key word or two into the search box and press Enter or click 'Search'. The search is not case sensitive.
For example, type “tax credits” into the search box and click on 'Search':
The 'Results from Advicenow' at the top of the screen contain our own guides to the topic.
Below that are our 'Top picks'. These are the best bits of information we can find on that topic from a wide range of reputable information providers.
Each 'top pick' contains:
- the title of the page,
- its web address (URL),
- Advicenow's plain English summary of what the page is about, and
- the name of organisation producing the information.
If you click on one of these links, it will open in a new window.
The information covers England and Wales. The law for Scotland and Northern Ireland can be significantly different.
Click here to go to our Top picks search.
About how we choose 'top picks'
Advicenow 'Top picks' inclusion criteria
To be a top pick information must meet our inclusion criteria:
1. The website must provide substantial information online and cover one of our 14 categories.
2. The information must be aimed at the general public. It can be targeted at a specific audience, for example, disabled people, but it must be balanced. For example, we don't link to websites provided by political parties.
3. Information should be of the best quality available for the topic area bearing in mind the need to cater for different audiences. This means that as well as being user friendly and written in Plain English it should support a user to manage a problem or address an issue by:
- Including an overview to orientate the user through their problem
- Explaining key legal points and procedures and processes
- Dealing with recognising when and how to get help
- Acknowledging emotional aspects
- Offering step-by-step guides, route maps and standard letters
- Incorporating guidance on the skills needed to manage a problem or deal with an issue.
4. Information must be up to date. We prefer not to have information that has not been checked/revised within the year where possible. We prefer to link to websites that clearly display the last updated/checked date.
5. Users must be able to identify the organisation responsible for the website. The website must give contact details, for example, address, telephone number, email or a complaints facility.
6. Information will primarily be sourced from independent, government and other organisations to provide a balance of information resources across a range of topics.
7. Information should apply to all of England and/or Wales rather than only being relevant to a local area. Unfortunately we do not cover Scotland or Northern Ireland at the moment.
8. The information must be free of charge.
9. Where there are charges for services provided via the website they must be separate from the information. And the charges must be set out clearly, before the service can be accessed.
Find out more here about how Top picks works.
About Advicenow guides
If you have found our guides helpful, we would be hugely grateful if you could make a small donation. Every little helps, as they say. Donate here.
If you can’t afford to make a donation you could help in other ways – by writing to your MP to ask them to support our work, or by telling your friends, or sharing the guide you liked via social media.
Advicenow guides provide an attractive and readable introduction to common legal problems. We aim to provide practical help - not just explaining the law, but also explaining the processes you can use to help resolve your problem. We use real-life stories and top tips from people who have been through it to get our message across. Above all, we aim to produce good, accurate writing that provides you with the information you need.
We select topics that get lots of queries on the website, or based on what staff in advice agencies up and down the country tell us are the most common issues people raise with them. We generally produce these longer guides in partnership with people with particular expertise in that field.
We know how much people value our guides so we are doing our best to keep as many of them as possible up-to-date and available. But as a charity we rely on fundraising to do this. When we have enough funding we try to ensure these detailed guides were available for free in PDF format.
'I have used your guide to find out if I should appeal (I appreciated your very frank advice). I’ve now used it to ask for an appeal. It was really helpful and I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found it.' Advicenow site user
View Advicenow guides
About getting expert help from one of our panel of family solicitors
We know that many Advicenow users can’t afford to pay a solicitor to help them with their case, or that they need to do as much as possible themselves to save money. But there are times, particularly if you are dealing with something difficult but incredibly important like finances after divorce or arrangements for your children, when you will find it really useful to get a bit of expert help from a family lawyer.
To help, we have teamed up with Resolution to provide a panel of family law solicitors that can help you at the most important points of the process for a reduced, fixed fee. We will show you up front exactly what areas of your case they can advise you on and how much their help will cost you - so that you can be certain you can afford it. Moreover, we have designed a process to make getting this help as cheap as possible for you, by making sure that you use the solicitor’s time as efficiently as possible.
We are testing out this service to see how it works. For now, it is only available for users of:
- How to apply for a court order about the arrangements for your children without the help of a lawyer
For How to apply for a court order about the arrangements for your children without the help of a lawyer and How to apply for a financial order without the help of a lawyer, this service is only available to users of our extended guides. That is because users need to have read all of the help in the extended guide to be able to use the solicitor's time as efficiently as possible.
How it works
What users of the Affordable Advice service say
"I think this is an excellent service for those of us on limited means who would struggle to pay to be represented through out the divorce process. Being able to seek advice for specific parts of the process is so helpful."
"It makes accessing advice more obtainable for us ordinary folk without large incomes."
"It is a fantastic service and I would recommend to others faced with the same issue."
"I thought it worked really well. The solicitor I spoke with gave very good advice."
As you go through any of the guides named above, you will see various points where we suggest you get some legal advice if you can possibly afford it. We only do this when we think it will be really useful.
We set out clearly what the solicitor can advise you on and how much it will cost you. There are no hidden extras.
In order to get all the advice described for the low price we offer, you will use the solicitor’s time as effectively as possible by:
1. Ensuring you have read the relevant sections of the guide, so that you understand the process, where you are in it, and any particular questions you might have.
2. Completing a form we send you as fully as possible and sending it to your chosen solicitor two working days before your appointment. This will tell the solicitor everything they need to know about your case in order to give you their advice in the appointment time.
3. You can choose whether you have an appointment over the phone, by videoconference, or face to face.
4. During the appointment, you are encouraged to take notes of the advice given and the solicitor can help make sure you have got all the most important details.
All of the solicitors on our panel are members of Resolution. Resolution members are family lawyers committed to helping people resolve their family disputes constructively and in a way that considers the needs of the whole family, and in particular the best interests of your children.
We have devised this offer in the hope that it will take some of the worry and stress out of the process for you, and enable you to get a better, fairer outcome.
If you don’t want to use the service, you don’t have to. Our guides will continue to be as extraordinarily helpful as they always were.
We aren’t making money from this partnership now, but if it is successful we will start to charge solicitors a fee to be on our panel from late Spring 2020. We are emphatic that the needs of our users will always be our first priority, in this and every other aspect of our service. See Our ethical trading compass for more details.
We are testing if this approach works, so please let us know what you think. If you use the service, you will be contacted to ask how it worked for you so that we can learn and improve.
About charging for some guides
Law for Life's Advicenow has started charging for some material in three of its guides. Most of the guide remains available for free on the website to everyone (just scroll down) but to access the full guide we ask those that can afford to, to pay. We have a discounted rate for anybody who recieves any household receives tax credits or state benefits (not including Child Benefit or the State Pension).
All guides continue to be available for free to those in most need. If you have a very low income just contact us for a copy. We also make them freely available for advice agencies and anyone giving free legal advice or practial support.
All income generated by charging is used to help fund our service, and to enable us to keep our guides up to date so we can continue to provide information aimed at the most needy for free.
In an ideal world, this wouldn't be neccessary. Charging was not a decision we took lightly. When we piloted it we measured the impact it had on our users and stakeholders. 87% of respondents to our user survey said that they thought our charging policy was OK, fair or very fair, and 92% said it was clear or very clear. We are still getting website visits (and of increasing duration) in the same numbers and from the same groups of people we did before. And we know that we are still succeeding in getting the resources to the most needy - we give away far more than we sell.
You can let us know what you think about our charging project by taking our survey.