The pro bono work we offer through our community engagement strategy is integral to the values we share as a community law firm.
We provide free legal advice surgeries in Sussex and Surrey to charities, voluntary agencies and social enterprises. We also provide free Community Care Law and Employment Law training for advice workers, and those involved in managing people in their organisations.
Our Community Care Law team run regular legal clinic sessions at Age UK Brighton & Hove to help people who face complex health and social care challenges. We advise on care planning and funding, navigating hospital discharge, as well as mental capacity and safeguarding of vulnerable adults.
“This legal service is a fantastic resource for families. Really clear and patient advice from professional lawyers and solicitors.” – Age UK Brighton & Hove
Our Community Care Law Team run regular legal advice clinics for carers at the Brighton & Hove Carers Centre.
“Martin Searle Solicitors free advice gives carers an opportunity to seek a specialist’s opinion. We really value their experience and expertise.” – Carers Centre, Brighton & Hove
Our Employment Law Team provide free telephone legal surgeries to help people with mental health issues stay in work or leave with a satisfactory Settlement Agreement.
“As a local charity providing employment support to clients experiencing mental health challenges, Martin Searle Solicitors have been a vital service for us and our clients when wanting to understand employment rights. They are always happy to provide fast detailed specialist advice and they truly enhance the service that we provide.” – Judy Corney, ESRA
Our team of Community Care Law experts also deliver training sessions in their specialist area of law to a number of organisations.
We run free legal training sessions for the staff and volunteers at Age UK Brighton and Hove. The training is designed to support the staff and volunteers at Age UK to continue to help the community.
Our Community Care Law Team runs a series of user-friendly and practical ‘how to’ sessions for carer groups and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at Alzheimer’s Society Brighton & Hove. In this way, we help people plan ahead and take the mystery out of legal processes, which can make a huge difference at a challenging time for many families.
In 2018, Chloe Scarr ran a free training session for the Alzheimer’s Society NHS Continuing Healthcare Volunteer Support Group at their head office in London.
“Chloe Scarr gave up her time to come to our offices and talk to our volunteers about practical tips and tactics that can be used when supporting someone with dementia to appeal an NHS CHC decision. We and our volunteers are extremely grateful to Chloe for sharing her knowledge and experience with us. Her contribution will help our volunteers to support vulnerable people through a very difficult process.” – Mary Sherrington, Alzheimer’s Society
Paula Jones runs training for Amaze, who support families of disabled children and disabled young people, covering the transition from children’s to adult social care, Powers of Attorney, decision-making and mental capacity.
We support specific projects such as the Learning Disabilities Carers’ Meetings and popular update sessions for the public at Carers’ Rights events.
Cate Searle runs free training and advice sessions for Camphill Village Trust on Health and Welfare Deputyship and how family members can ensure their voices are heard when important Best Interest decisions are made.
“Saturday’s meeting proved to be one of our most successful, thanks in large part to your wonderful presentation. We have had so many very appreciative comments. The whole subject of decision making is fraught with difficulty for families, and it’s so good to know that there are people like you working to bring common sense and humanity to bear on it all, as well as a keen and determined professionalism” – Mary Pearson, Chair of Camphill Families and Friends
We run free talks for D-Mob Brighton & Hove, who are part of the Demential Engagment and Empowerment Project UK. The sessions for D-Mob members cover care funding rules and Best Interest decisions for people who lack mental capacity to make these decisions for themselves.
We run free training sessions for the Thalidomide Trust, providing practical advice to their resident Deputies and Case Managers on challenging inadequate social care and NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments.
Fiona Martin and her team provide Employment Law training to ensure that the managers of charities, voluntary agencies and social enterprises understand their responsibilities as employers to ensure best practice so that their employees are managed fairly. This is particularly the case through the pandemic when employers needed to know how the Furlough Scheme would work.
Knowledge is key and we are dedicated to helping people improve their skills. This is why we are proud to deliver bespoke training sessions through business support organisations such as Wired Sussex, Acas, the Federation of Small Businesses and Community Works.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, we ran free bespoke Q&A sessions on furloughing and restructuring for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce and Gatwick Diamond Business to help support their member organisations through this challenging time.
We also run two bi-monthly HR Forums to provide Employment Law updates and promote best practice within our Sussex business community. HR Matters is open to all business sectors in Brighton and Hove.
To help Brighton & Hove Community Works deliver services spanning our local community, we deliver regular, tailor-made Employment Law workshops for charitable and voluntary sector members.
“The pro bono support that Fiona and the Martin Searle team have offered over the years to charities and community groups in Brighton and Hove has made a huge difference to the health and sustainability of those organisations. Support has ranged from writing employment contracts and staff handbooks, providing training in employment law and offering one-to-one advice to trustees at our governance surgeries. Fiona has played a strategic role in supporting our business engagement activity for a number of years and has introduced several new businesses to us that have gone on to offer pro bono support. They have been integral to increasing our capacity to support charities and community groups in the city to be more effective. A huge thank you from the Community Works Team.” – Lisa Mytton, Brighton Community Works
We have worked with The Prince’s Trust mentoring young people who have set up their own business. We take part in careers workshops at BACA including an event at Patcham High School called Inspiring Young Women and we organised a legal careers evening at Blatchington Mill School. We provide work experience particularly for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also sponsor Best Employment Law Student at University of Brighton and each year offer the winner a week’s work experience shadowing our Employment Law team.
We support charitable giving through fundraising and donations. We took part in a sponsored fire walk and hosted an Alternative 80’s Party for Adventure Unlimited and our 10 year celebration raised money for Brighton and Hove CAB.
In October 2015, Planning to Remove the Stress raised a total of £1,645 from ticket sales for the Conference’s local charity partners: Age UK Brighton & Hove, Alzheimer’s Society, Frenkel Topping Charity Foundation and Headway East Sussex and Headway West Sussex.
In July 2018, we held a party to raise funds and awareness for Refugee Support Europe.