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The pitfalls of free online legal advice - Email Enquiry

Back in mid April, I emailed every email address I could find on the site – the contact page, the press info address, dbishop at claims financial – with some questions:

Hello

I am the editor of a housing law website at http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/ which has a substantial readership, including landlord organisations and managing agents.

I am considering writing a piece about the law on the web 'legal advice' landlord law pages at http://www.lawontheweb.co.uk/Landlord_Law

And linked from that page.

I have a few questions. I would be grateful for a response.

1. Who wrote these pages? The authors are credited as a Paul Mason, Colm Wolstencroft and Alistair Dursely. However, the 'contact the author' links all result in an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. Whatever the answer to 1. what are the legal qualifications and experience of the person or persons who wrote these pages?

3. Does this person or persons have experience in landlord and tenant law?

4. Please explain law on the web's procedure for ensuring that the information on these pages is correct, including the legal qualifications and experience of whoever is responsible for the procedure.

5. How often is the information on the pages updated?

6. The site describes the information in these pages as 'legal information' and 'legal advice'. It also provides 'legal documents'.

Does Everything Legal accept that visitors to the law on the web site may rely upon the information and documents being accurate, and act on that basis?

7. If a visitor relied upon the information and it was incorrect, is law on the web or Everything Legal insured against any claim against the site that may result?

I may have some further questions in the future.

I should make clear that any response may be published, in whole or in part.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours

NL

I never got a response, of any kind. I tried contacting Brad Askew via twitter (@Bradaskew) and also via @lawontheweb (strap line "Its ALL about access to justice"). Again, no response. I wasn't the only one asking questions either. Nobody got a response that I know of.

And here is the real issue. The 'legal information' provided is at least in part practically useless, and in part downright wrong. There is no indication whatsoever (at least on the current site) of the source of the information, or whether it is provided by someone experienced or knowledgeable in the subject (although that seems very doubtful).

Yet by insisting that it is providing 'helpful legal information' and helping people 'understand their legal rights', the site gives the clear impression that it is providing information that can be relied upon – the main information page is headed 'legal advice' after all. The documents, perhaps even more so, are held out to be relied upon. But some, at least, are out of date and/or inadequate. The suspicion has to be that the 'legal information' is there for search engine purposes, to attract people to the site to use the solicitor referral service (or be directed on to the PPI claims site or similar). Certainly, it does not appear that a great deal of expertise was invested in the information. This appears to be cheap free stuff.

But for the visitor or user, the cost of free is potentially much more than just being directed to a referral site – if the information is wrong, as in part it is, and people rely on it, as they are encouraged to do, where is their redress?

I suspect such a person would not get very far with the 'contact us' box on the law on the website. And there is nowhere else for them to go. For these reasons, and for announcing that it is 'all about access to justice', Law on the Web and Everything Legal Ltd go on the naughty step.

Source: The Guardian UK, 12 June 2012







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sampson kyere (05.01.2016 (10:17:28))
do i have to pay back all my money when have not stay in a permisis for less than 6 months Yes No Please i need help, my landlord is having issues with me. but i will like to ask if have not stayed in the house for not more than 6months and less than 6 months what should i required from the landlord of my rent.
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