Pro bono success for woman, 84

20 Jun


AN 84-year-old woman says she will be “forever grateful” to the Faculty’s pro bono unit and a volunteer QC who helped her win a court case over damage to her tenement home.

The ceiling in the woman’s living room partially collapsed and cracks appeared in other ceilings after building work started in the flat above.

Her insurance did not cover the damage.

“I had no idea what to do. I was unwell and the doctor came out to see me and he told me about CHAI (Community Help and Advice Initiative). I contacted them,” she said.

Edinburgh-based CHAI is one of the accredited advice agencies which refers cases to the Faculty’s Free Legal Services Unit (FLSU). When no form of funding is available, the FLSU can provide advice and representation by volunteer senior and junior counsel.

After the FLSU was alerted by CHAI to the woman’s situation, an action was raised at Edinburgh Sheriff Court against the owner of the upstairs flat and the contractor who had carried out the building works.

Roddy McIlvride, QC, appeared for the woman at a four-day hearing, assisted by solicitor David Nelson of Clyde & Co, and the sheriff found in her favour. She was awarded just under £5,000.

The woman said she wanted to thank the FLSU, Mr McIlvride and Mr Nelson, and Cindy Courtillier of CHAI.

“I don’t know what I would have done without all these kind people,” she said.

“Roddy was absolutely fantastic and so friendly. He was really, really nice. I am forever grateful to him for all the work he has done for nothing. And to Cindy and David who did everything they could to help.”

Mr McIlvride said: “I am just very glad that she has obtained a favourable outcome in circumstances where she wouldn’t otherwise have been able to obtain legal representation. This is what the FLSU is all about.”