Public legal education PLENET -

Public legal education (PLE) equips people with the knowledge, skills and the confidence needed to successfully resolve problems encountered in day to day life.
PLE focuses on the early stages of a problem and sets out to help people avoid law-related problems, act more quickly when problems do occur and deal with issues more effectively including knowing when and where to get expert help.

Better knowledge of rights and legal issues empowers individuals and communities enabling them to take more control over their lives and participate in the democratic process and get involved in shaping the decisions that affect them.
PLE complements legal and advice services and has links to both education and community development.

Why is PLE important

'Economists estimate that over a three to four year period unresolved problems cost the nation £13 billion.
'Helping people to avoid problems or solve them earlier avoids expense, stress and disruption and creates knock-on savings for the justice system and society as a whole.
'PLE can help people to understand and analyse the rules and systems they live with, and so be involved in the decisions that affect them'.
Extracts from Plenet's leaflet on public legal education

Over half of the UK population is unaware of their legal rights or the processes by which they are enforced1. This indicates that there is a serious gap in people’s knowledge about how society works and about their role within in. Lack of legal capability alienates people and creates a barrier to effective communication and participation in civil society.
PLE helps people to solve everyday problems such as debt, benefits, consumer rights, discrimination, housing, employment problems and divorce. These issues have a massive impact on people’s lives.
Research shows that many people worry about their problems most of the time, not knowing what to do or where to go for help. Many people do nothing and things get even worse.
Often, the people who are hardest hit are those who already experience some disadvantage, for example disabled people, people with literacy problems, the homeless and older people.