Frequently Asked Questions

1. Legal Advice

What kind of advice or help can Liberty offer me?

Liberty runs free specialist advice services for private individuals and voluntary sector organisations.

Your Rights

Our dedicated information website www.yourrights.org.uk has comprehensive and up-to-date information about all aspects of human rights law in England and Wales.

Advice Line

If you don't find the information that you are looking for on our website, you can call our advice line on these numbers: 0845 123 2307 or 0203 145 0461. If you are calling from a mobile phone the '020' number may be the cheaper number to use. 

The line is open at the following times:

Monday and Thursday 6.30pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 12.30pm - 2.30pm 

Voluntary sector organisations should call when the line is open on Wednesdays. Private individuals are of course free to call during any of the three sessions.

Online Query

Alternatively you can submit a written query via our online query form

Who staffs Liberty's advice services?

Liberty's advice services are staffed by two fully trained lawyers, who are assisted by a small team of legally trained volunteers. 

Will Liberty be able to offer me legal representation?

Liberty receives thousands of requests for legal advice and assistance each year. Because we're a small organisation with limited resources, our lawyers are unable to take up all of these cases actively. As a result, we cannot guarantee that we'll be able to take your case on or provide legal representation. 

What if my query does not involve human rights law?

Liberty’s advice services focus solely on human rights law: we do not have the experience or resources to deal with queries which fall outside this area, or to offer general legal advice. If your query is not something with which Liberty can assist, we will do our best to refer you to a relevant service or organisation. 

Does Liberty deal with immigration & asylum law / family law / employment law / planning law?

Liberty does not have specific expertise in any of these areas of law. As a result, we cannot provide detailed legal advice on these areas, although we can usually offer guidance on whether human rights law might be connected to them in specific cases. If your case requires detailed knowledge of different areas of law, then we can usually direct you towards a relevant specialist organisation. 

What if my case is taking place outside the UK?

Liberty's lawyers are only qualified to practise within the English and Welsh legal system. This means that they cannot offer advice on issues which take place within a different legal system, although we will do our best to offer referrals and recommendations. 

What about if I'm in Scotland?

Unfortunately, Liberty is unable to offer advice on Scottish issues. This is because of the differences between the English and Scottish legal systems: our lawyers are only qualified to practise law in the English system, so they are not qualified to offer advice on Scottish cases. 

Do I have to be a member of Liberty to request advice? Do I have to pay to get advice?

No. Liberty's advice service is open to all members of the public, and is free of charge. 

Why is the Liberty Advice Line only open at specific times?

Our Advice & Information staff and volunteers are responsible for running the advice line in addition to replying to every written request for advice which Liberty receives. Unfortunately we do not have the resources required to keep the Advice Line open throughout the week and also reply promptly to written requests. 

I've tried calling the Liberty Advice Line, and I can't get through!

Our advice service receives a very high volume of calls, all of which are dealt with by a small team of advisors. As a result, there will be times when all our advisors are dealing with calls at the same time. If you have called the Advice Line during the opening hours above, but were not able to get through to an advisor, it will have been because all our advisors were dealing with other calls. Please be patient and try again. The line tends to be less busy on the second hour of the advice session, that is to say, after 19.30 in the evening sessions and after 13.30 in the lunchtime session, so you may want to try calling then.

I want to see someone in person rather than call a phone number.

Liberty occupies an extremely small office, with limited staff and resources. This means that it isn't possible for us to offer face-to-face advice to the public. If you need to speak to someone about a human rights legal issue then you will need to contact our telephone advice line. 

My query is urgent, but I need to put it in writing rather than call a phone number.

You can use this online query form. This will be sent electronically to our advice team, who will answer your query as quickly as possible. Because of the extremely high volume of written queries which Liberty receives, we are unable to guarantee immediate written responses, but we endeavour to prioritise genuinely urgent or time-sensitive queries. 

How long will it take Liberty to reply to my query?

Our advice team answer queries as swiftly as possible, but because of the high volumes of queries received, and the limited resources available to deal with them, written responses can take up to eight weeks at busy times. We are often able to respond within a few weeks, but we are unable to guarantee a response in less than six weeks. 

I'm interested in particular human rights issue, which is not affecting me directly, but about which I've got some questions.

Please take a look at this section 2 of our FAQ below. 

I'm researching a particular human rights issue, and want some general information, or to request an interview.

Please take a look at section 4 of our FAQ below.

I have a query which is not covered by any of the above.

If have any questions which are not covered, please use our contact page to get in touch.

 

2. About Liberty and our work

What does Liberty do?

For a general overview of Liberty's work, please visit our work.

What issues does Liberty cover? What are Liberty's main campaigns at the moment?

Each of the specific issues covered by Liberty are outlined in the About Human Rights section of our website and our Campaigns page.

How does Liberty decide which issues to focus on?

Liberty's policy is guided by our members, who submit, debate and vote on motions at our Annual General meeting; if a motion is passed at an AGM, it becomes official Liberty policy. In addition, at each AGM Liberty members are elected by their peers to serve on our Executive Committee and Council; these groups meet regularly throughout the year to oversee the work of Liberty's staff and ensure that the wishes of our members are being met.

Is Liberty a government body? How is it funded?

Liberty is entirely independent, receiving no Government funding so that we are free to criticise Government policy in any area where we specialise. We are funded by a combination of membership subscriptions, non-government grants, donations from the public and income earned from a small amount of legal aid.

What's the difference between Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust?

Liberty is both an unincorporated association made up of members, and a non-profit-making company that employs staff and runs campaigns. The Civil Liberties Trust is a registered charity. It has no staff, but commissions Liberty to conduct charitable work such as providing public advice and information. More details on the corporate structure of Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust.

I'm concerned about a particular human rights issue. Are Liberty aware of it?

Liberty's position as one of the UK's leading campaigning organisations means that we're usually aware of any new developments regarding human rights issues. However, we're always happy to hear from people who are interested in our work. If you'd like to send Liberty some information on a particular subject, then you can use our contact form. Please note that we are not usually able to reply to correspondence which aims simply to provide Liberty with information. If you are looking for advice or guidance from Liberty on a specific topic, then you will need to contact our Advice and Information service.

 

 

3. Membership

If you are interestes in becoming a Liberty member, you can join online easily and securely here. You can contact our Membership team  by calling 020 7403 3888

How much does it cost to be a member of Liberty?

Standard membership of Liberty is £30 a year (equivalent to £2.50 a month) but you can also join our Lawyers for Liberty scheme for £60 a year (£5 a month).

Are there any reduced rates available?

There is a reduced rate of £12 a year available for students, pensioners and the unwaged. Find out more.

Is everyone entitled to join Liberty?

Yes - Liberty membership is open to everyone that supports our aims and objectives.

I live abroad, can I still be a member?

Yes. Just make sure you give us your full address, so we can make sure any materials we send arrive safely.

Can I upgrade my membership?

Yes. Please contact our membership team to upgrade your membership.

Can I buy Liberty membership as a gift?

Yes. Please contact us directly if you wish to give Liberty membership as a present or gift. We will need your address as well as the address of the recipient.

What methods of payment does Liberty accept?

You can join Liberty by setting up a regular direct debit payment, or you can make a payment with a credit card, cheque, or postal order. The only form of payment we can't accept is American Express, as we have to pay additional charges. Sadly we can't accept CAF or KPP payments, as Liberty is not a charity and membership subscriptions do not qualify for Gift Aid.

Can I pay by annual rather than monthly Direct Debit?

Yes. Although most of our members join by monthly Direct Debit, you can set up an annual payment by contacting the membership team directly.

Can I pay by American Express?

No - we can't accept American Express as we have to pay additional charges.

Does Liberty recommend a particular form of payment?

Our preferred method of payment for membership subscriptions is Direct Debit: this cuts our administration costs by 80%, meaning more of your gift goes directly towards supporting our campaigns.

Can you claim Gift Aid on my membership?

No. Any payments made in relation to membership of Liberty are not eligible for Gift Aid. For more information about restrictions around Gift Aid, please visit the HMRC website. If you wish to make a general donation to Liberty, then you can donate to our charitable sister organisation the Civil Liberties Trust. Donations made to the CLT are eligible for Gift Aid.

Can I leave a gift to Liberty in my Will?

Yes. Please see our page about leaving a legacy for more information.  Liberty members also have the opportunity to have a Will written for free, thanks to our membership of the Free Wills Network.

How long does it take to process a new membership?

Although you will usually receive a response from us much sooner, we aim to process and acknowledge all gifts within 14 days.

Why have I not received any correspondence from you acknowledging my gift?

It can take us up to 14 days to acknowledge gifts and subscriptions during busy periods. If you have not heard from us within 14 days of sending Liberty a gift or becoming a member then please contact our Membership team immediately.

Will Liberty ever sell my membership details to a third party?

Never. We use a print and mail service to send out our membership newsletter and email list management software to send out our email updates and so inevitably these services require access to our members’ postal and email addresses. However your details are not recorded or shared by these services and will only be used by them on our behalf. If you wish to unsubscribe from our email updates you can do so easily by using the 'unsubscribe' link in the foot of the email. You can also let us know if you wish to stop receiving any mailings from us which are processed outside our office.

Where can I find my membership number?

We try to print your membership number at the top of all membership correspondence. Please contact our membership department at any time if you would like us to confirm your membership number.

 

4. Events, speakers, interviews and research

I'm a member of the press and I'd like to interview someone from Liberty. Who should I contact?

Please visit this page to contact Liberty's press office. Please note that this department only deals with members of the press, and won't be able to respond to general enquiries. Please see our general contact page for details of how to get in touch with us if you're not a member of the press.

Can I book Shami Chakrabarti to speak at or take part in an event I'm organising?

We are always happy to receive invitations for Liberty’s Director to speak at events, although her diary is generally extremely full so we can't guarantee her availability. For details of how to submit an invitation, please contact us.

Can I book other speakers from Liberty to speak at or take part in an event I'm organising?

Several of our staff members are able to take on speaking engagements on behalf of Liberty. For details of how to submit an invitation, please contact Liberty's office.

Can I book a member of Liberty staff to do a presentation at my school?

Yes - we will do our best (depending on staff availability) to provide a speaker for your school. For details of how to submit a speaker request, please contact us.

Can you send me some Liberty campaign materials?

Yes, we're happy to send out Liberty leaflets, posters and other campaign materials as long as our stocks last. Please use our contact page to get in touch with us if you'd like us to send you or your organisation anything.

I'm running a campaign on a particular issue and I would like Liberty's support. Can you promote my campaign to your members, run a joint event with me, or give an official Liberty endorsement?

We're very interested to hear about other groups or individuals who are running human rights campaigns in the UK. Our limited resources, and our focus on issues which have already been identified as priorities, means that we can't always offer our assistance, but we'll do our best to help.

I'm interested in a particular issue. Can Liberty provide me with additional research / documents related to it?

Most of Liberty's publications and materials from the last ten years are available to read or download on our website, and we aren't usually able to provide any older materials because we do not have enough office space to store hard copies.

I'm researching an issue related to human rights, and have some questions about it. Can I interview someone from Liberty as part of my research?

Because Liberty is an extremely small organisation with a focus on campaigning rather than research, we're not usually able to take part in surveys or research projects. If your research covers a key area of Liberty's campaigning work, then you are welcome to send in some brief questions: we'll do our best to offer assistance, but unfortunately we can't guarantee a substantive response.

Can I quote from a Liberty publication, speech, or newspaper article in my writing and / or research?

Permission to quote or re-use material written or published by Liberty generally depends on what you plan to use and how. Please contact us with details of your project.

 

5. Working or volunteering at Liberty

How does Liberty recruit paid staff and volunteers?

All of Liberty's vacancies, whether paid or voluntary, are advertised on our website, and recruited competively. We often advertise vacancies elsewhere (e.g. in the Guardian newspaper and website) in addition to posting them on our own site. To see if there are any current vacancies, please visit our jobs page.

I'd like to send a CV or speculative application for paid or voluntary work, is this okay?

Please do not send us speculative applications or CVs. Because we use position-specific application forms for each recruitment, we aren't able to keep applications or CVs on file.

What kind of volunteering opportunities are there at Liberty? Do you offer a work experience or internship program?

Liberty is not currently able to take on work experience placements or internships due to our extremely limited office space and resources. However, we regularly recruit volunteers to assist with our work across various departments. Positions are generally for one day a week in office hours, working alongside our paid staff in a specific Liberty department (e.g. Membership, Operations or our Legal Advice team) at our London office. For full details of volunteer vacancies, please keep an eye on the volunteer page of our site.

Are there other ways I can get involved with Liberty's work?

Liberty undertakes a broad variety of campaigns, events, and actions, as well as fundraising drives, and we're always looking for supporters to get involved with these. For details of the campaigns we're currently running, and how you can get involved, please visit our Campaigns page.  You can find information about fundraising to support Liberty on this page.

If you are a professional with skills or experience that you feel might be useful to Liberty then we always welcome offers of pro bono assistance. There may not be an appropriate project available immediately but we will try our best to take up any offers. Please contact us with some information about what you do, your experience or portfolio, and what you’d be most interested in working on.

Gifts in kind can also make a difference to our work and help us keep our costs down. Examples of donations we have received from supporters in the past include:

  • Advertising space
  • Venue hire
  • Print services

If you or your company would like to support Liberty with a gift in kind, please contact us.

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