UK Law and Your Rights For Dummies
The law in the United Kingdom gives citizens their rights and the means of protecting and enforcing those rights. This Cheat Sheet gives you some of the most important information about the law and your rights up front.
The UK’s Top Ten Rights
Here is a list of ten of the most important rights that citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland benefit from having:
The right not to be tortured, treated inhumanely, condemned to death, or executed
The right to free elections
The right to a fair trial
The right not to be discriminated against
The right to National Health Service treatment
The right to an education
The right to marry or register a civil partnership and build a family
The right to be paid at least the minimum wage
The right not to be sacked unfairly
The right to at least 20 days paid holidays each year
Seek Legal Advice in the UK for Certain Situations
Obtaining legal advice is going to be a necessity for you in certain situations in the UK. Here is a list of situations in which it makes sense for you to seek advice:
You’re involved in a dispute with your employer.
You and your spouse or partner are splitting up.
You may lose your driving licence for a traffic offence.
You’re in debt and could lose your home.
Your builder has botched up the job but won’t put it right.
You’ve bought something faulty, but the shop won’t return your money.
You’re buying or selling your property.
You need to make a will.
You’ve committed an offence that can land you in prison.
You want to claim compensation for a personal injury.
Your Best Sources of Legal Help and Advice in the UK
As a United Kingdom citizen, you have several sources of assistance when you need legal advice or help with matters of the law or your rights. Here are some resources to keep in mind:
The Citizens Advice Bureau is a free, independent, impartial service of information, advice, and support. Look in your phone book for the details of the nearest bureau to you or find them online.
You may have a Law Centre in your area. Look in the phone book or contact The Law Centres Federation (0207-387-8570) for details. The Scottish Association of Law Centres is on 0141-440-2503. Law Centres Northern Ireland is on 02890-244-401.
Victim Support is an organisation that offers support and advice and can help you through the emotional and practical aspects of crime. Call 0845- 303-0900 for details of your local branch.
The Law Society can give you lists of solicitors. Call 0870-606-6565 in England and Wales, 0845-113-0018 in Scotland and 02890-231-614 in Northern Ireland. If you want to complain about a solicitor or the bill talk to the Law Society on 0845-608-6565 or have a look at the Law Society website.
The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service, or ACAS, can give advice on your rights at work. Contact ACAS through the website or through Equality Direct at ACAS 08456-003-444.
NHS Direct can help you find a GP and advise you if you feel unwell and aren’t sure whether you need to see a doctor. Call on 0845-4647.
If you need help on money, you should talk to independent financial advisers. You can reach The Association of Independent Financial Advisers at 020-7 628-1287.
Just about any query you may have about UK law is likely to be covered on the Government’s own website. It’s a very useful source of information.