Cardiff lawyers launch travellers' helpline

April 7, 1995

A telephone helpline for gypsies and new age travellers is being inaugurated by Cardiff University's Law School.

Designed to offer advice to travellers facing threats of eviction following the 1994 Criminal Justice Act, the helpline also refers travellers to solicitors in their locality who will be willing to represent them on a variety of issues.

Legal advice is likely to be forthcoming on topics such as planning appeals, site conditions, education and environmental health. And lawyers will represent travellers in the High Court or at the European Court of Human Rights.

Philip Thomas the project's director said: "This pilot project aims to offer immediate and user-friendly front line advice. It should also provide a focus for consolidating a network of specialist legal advisers available to travellers throughout England and Wales."

The helpline will be manned by postgraduate law students between 9am and 1pm every weekday.

Phone access should not be a problem for gypsies, because, says the Cardiff Gypsies Sites Group, 50 per cent of travelling families have mobile phones. Their liaison officer, Tim Wilson, welcomes the helpline. "It will be an essential link for an isolated community whose way of life is under threat."

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