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Armed forces legal scheme set for overseas expansion

25 June 2014 | tagged News release

A campaign encouraging lawyers to offer discounted legal services for members of the armed forces community is to be taken overseas, following success throughout the United Kingdom.

Members of the armed forces, politicians and lawyers will celebrate the success of Armed Forces Legal Action (AFLA), founded by Scottish solicitor Allan Steele, WS, at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, 25 June.

Ken Macintosh MSP will host the event. Her Majesty the Queen will be represented by lieutenancies throughout the country who will join leading members of the legal and charitable sectors to learn about AFLA's achievements to date and its ambitions for the future, which include rolling out the initiative to Northern Ireland, Commonwealth countries and beyond.

Scores of law firms from across the UK have signed up to the scheme, which was founded last year, to offer discounted fees for legal advice and services to members of the armed forces community. AFLA also extends lifetime legal cover to personnel who have sustained serious combat injuries, recipients of the Victoria Cross, the George Cross and bereaved next of kin recipients of the Elizabeth Cross.

Linzie Steele, Allan's wife, coordinates AFLA on a daily basis. She said: "We are very grateful to Ken Macintosh for hosting AFLA at the Scottish Parliament and the strong support from MSPs right across the political spectrum. It has been tremendously encouraging. We are also fortunate to have Jackson Carlaw, MSP, Stewart Maxwell, MSP, the Rt Hon Jim Murphy, MP, and Willie Rennie, MSP, as honorary patrons in Scotland.

"The success to date is well beyond what we originally anticipated. We have effectively ensured that discounted legal services are available to the armed forces community across the country.

"We are indebted to the Law Societies of Scotland and England and Wales for their support. Their members have really rallied to the cause and have shown their support to those who serve.

"Our motto is 'For Services Rendered' which Allan recalls using in fee notes when he was solicitor in private practice. Now we use it in a different way to emphasise that our armed forces community has earned this special treatment due to the sacrifices they continue to make. AFLA is not a charity - it is a way of treating our service personnel. We are now very excited about our plans for the future and taking the AFLA concept to other countries, particularly those with whom our armed forces have served in recent years."

Law Society of Scotland President, Alistair Morris, said: "AFLA is a fantastic initiative and we know that people are already benefitting from being able to source legal advice and services at discounted fees. Members of the armed forces put their lives on the line for the rest of us and this is a small, but important, way for those of us in the legal profession to repay that.

"I congratulate Allan and Linzie Steele for their drive and commitment to this project and for taking it from an idea to reality. The Law Society has been proud to support the scheme."

ENDS                                                                         

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Linzie Steele (AFLA) afla@live.co.uk

Val McEwan (Law Society of Scotland) 0131 226 8884 / 07825 206468. Email: valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk

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