University students are opening a free legal advice centre for members of the public to combat the ‘huge gap’ in local legal support.

Second and third year Law students at the University of Bolton will man the centre, which will open next month, and provide initial legal advice. Some issues will then be passed on to solicitors or local organisations, such as the Bolton Law Society or Citizens Advice. Masters students can also volunteer.

Students will be trained in the initial part of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) before working at the centre, according to coordinator Ian Bowden (pictured above). They will also be supervised by a team from the university’s law department.

Bowden, a law lecturer and a practising solicitor advocate, said: ‘There are many cases that we know are not being dealt with at the moment and that is where we come in. People often need legal advice but don’t know where to turn. This will give them an option and will be a valued service to the local community. We have already received countless enquiries.’

He added: ‘Members of the public can be assured that our team will be fully trained in the wide range of skills required of a solicitor.’

The centre will initially be open for scheduled appointments and drop-in sessions on Friday afternoons.