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In North Kensington and the surrounding areas, people will be dealing with the repercussions of the appalling Grenfell Tower fire for years to come.
Through our merger with the Notting Hill-based firm Alan Edwards & Co, we have a particular knowledge and understanding of the area as well as strong connections with local community organisations. Alan Edwards has himself practised in the area for some 40 years and other former Alan Edwards & Co partners and staff for decades. We have therefore been involved from the outset, working with organisations, associations and charities through which we can have the greatest impact. We have been careful, however, not to try and put ourselves in the spotlight. The issues are too important for that. But clients and others closely connected with the aftermath of the tragedy, with whom we have been cooperating, will have an interest in knowing about the effort we have been making. We don’t claim any special credit – community organisations have been able to do much more.
Any contribution made by any single organisation such as Russell-Cooke, can only ever be small when compared to the enormity of the situation faced by the community. But here are some of the things we have done so far:
- at the invitation of Shelter our specialist housing lawyers are advising, pro bono, at legal clinics in the area organised by North Kensington Law Centre (NKLC), the Citizens Advice bureau and Shelter
- we have provided substantial financial support to NKLC to help them assist those affected and ensure they get access to justice and legal support. As well as the legal clinics NKLC are helping residents gather the documents and paperwork they will require in order to advance any future claims. NKLC are also hosting community meetings to help local residents better understand their legal rights.
- via local community organisations we have been giving assistance and advice on a pro bono basis to groups and individuals concerning the public inquiry and its terms of reference
- via a legal clinic organised by NKLC we have provided pro bono wills and probate advice to bereaved families to assist them in dealing with the deceased’s estate so that in due course they can make a damages claim
- our charity lawyers have been providing advice and support to trusted organisations within the community to coordinate the control and distribution of relief funds provided by the London Community Foundation
- we have provided assistance and drafting (in conjunction with Andrew Arden QC) of written representations as to the Inquiry’s terms of reference.
Work for individual clients
Given our long-standing presence in the area we are representing both pre-existing and new clients who are among those affected:
- we are representing clients from Grenfell Tower and the immediate neighbourhood regarding their rights to temporary and permanent housing and many related issues
- we have provided advice in relation to injury claims with specific emphasis on psychological injuries and loss of family possessions
Survivors and residents who have an existing relationship with a lawyer with the necessary specialist skills and experience are in a small minority. Inevitably there are numbers of lawyers eager to be involved for a variety of motives. Survivors and residents do and will need the right legal support and representation. Given the existence of a variety of options including free consultations, legal aid, ‘no win, no fee’, and the probable funding for core participants in the Inquiry, it is unlikely that the payment of fees will be a barrier to people getting the advice they need. But the choice may be difficult and people may feel pressured.
We have been providing assistance to individuals to help them choose the right representation. We don’t charge for that. Sometimes we are the right firm but sometimes we may not be. Individuals and organisations are welcome to contact us to discuss their needs or worries about representation without charge.
If you need assistance you are welcome to contact us either by emailing or calling us on 020 3826 7654.