Hello, my name is Karen ROGERS and for over 25 years I have acted in the capacity of advisor, counsellor and representative for people who find themselves in difficulties.
Problems arrive large and small; it can be hard to know where to turn or whom to talk to. It is so easy to lose your way and can be exhausting and baffling to find understanding and empathy. Family and friends offer us comfort and support, but they may not be able to offer the advice, guidance or direction needed. I know that at these times can bring stress, anxiety, and depression for I too have suffered these dark and debilitating feelings. When I needed help and advice it was extremely limited. This makes your problem seem insurmountable, but there is always a solution. I have successfully acted for and represented numerous clients who have previously been dispirited and confused.
My professional background began at the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) when I needed advice myself. I became a volunteer advisor then gained employment as a guidance tutor.
My role was to take new volunteers through the CAB Advisor Training Programme thus equipping these novice recruits with the technical knowledge and engagement skills necessary to become fully trained advisors. As part of the training, it was crucial that I taught all volunteers the aims and principles of CAB, how to interview and advise clients and how to research and investigate each client’s case and social needs. Leading by example, I ensured that equality and social inclusion were observed and adhered to by all advisors and that each advisor offered support and guidance against social injustice.
Alongside this role, I was also a specialist advisor for clients whose complex cases required a more in-depth and expert approach. I also trained advisors on the implementations of new policies and procedures and became an N.V.Q Assessor, charged with the responsibility of signing-off the effectiveness and quality of accredited advisors. I have also worked for Age Concern as a Money Advisor/Debt Counselling Officer, although my role varied as much as the clients’ case files upon my desk. From form filling to health and disability issues, tenancy disputes and patient care, each client faced concern.
I was soon to realise that fighting for our rights was my calling in life when I faced discrimination myself. My case was against an organisation hence, I could not find a solicitor willing to represent me, I was told I had no case to be answered, but I refused to believe that, for I knew my rights had been abused and ignored. I compiled my own case to present at tribunal but before the hearing, the defendant insisted that I instructed a Barrister. I did, she read my case and asked which solicitor advised and compiled my case. I told her I had not received any assistance and had compiled the case myself. The Barrister then phoned the defendant and told them I had a powerful and irrefutable case. The organisation settled out of court. I won my case and while I received financial recompense, I gained so much more from the fact that I now knew that if I could take a case to tribunal against an organisation and win, then I could fight for the rights of others in similar circumstances. I have done so ever since, using my knowledge and understanding of our human rights in the defence of clients and personally.
Sadly, my parents both suffered from Alzheimer’s disease at the same time, although at dissimilar stages. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease which acts like a thief stealing our loved one’s memories, personalities and dignity without question or hesitation. I found the constant shortages of resources, funding, and patients’ rights astounding. There seemed to be a shortage of everything except excuses!
The care home in which my father was placed was unhygienic and while the staff strived to do their best to look after these frail, needy patients, they were often well outnumbered by those who sought their aid. Fortunately, I was able to remove my father and took him home to surroundings that he knew and felt secure in. Within days the difference was clear, his appetite returned, he was not so agitated, and his mood improved. Sadly, I realise this is not possible for everyone.
I fought for my mother’s nursing home fees to be paid for. I knew her rights and under the Mental Health Act 1983 covering the reception, care, and treatment of those with a mental disorder, their property and other related matters forming part of the mental health law. In 1995 government legislation introduced the Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Act.
I won my mother’s case after appeal and then proceeded to assist and collate case files for other families in the same situations. I won these cases because I knew that these people had rights which were being ignored. Ignorance is no defence! These rights should not have to be fought for; they are our fundamental rights in law.
In 2013, whilst living in France, I opened The Advice Service for British ex-pats who found themselves in difficult circumstances. Clients came to me with problems they had back in the UK. I would often assist clients at tribunal in the UK at family court (as a McKenzie Friend) for those with issues of parental rights. I assisted families who had issues with their elderly relatives’ care needs, collating cases for appeal. However, in France, although I was able to collate evidence for my clients my aid was not accepted at tribunal. France follows Civil law established in 1804 by Napoleon. These predefined set of written statutes and codes must be strictly adhered to and continue to rule the French court rooms society today. There can be no equality or fraternity under such outdated laws and principles! Evidence is not admissible or taken into consideration, nor is self-advocacy allowed. The norms and values of society in 1804 have no bearing on the norms and values of society we practice and recognise in the 21st century, it is an impossible concept.
My mantra is: Without evidence there cannot be truth, without truth there is no justice, without justice these is no peace.
We are extremely fortunate in the UK where common/case law is practiced- this allows jurisprudence. Evidence is allowed and each case is decided on the customs and values of society. Importantly, self-advocacy is recognised, whereby people can call upon the aid of others, rather than a lawyer, to encourage and support their rights. A lawyer is not within the financial means of us all, but this should not mean you are denied justice! Legal aid has been badly depleted and organisations such as CAB and Age Concern, bastions of our society, are floundering under the weight and pressure of numbers of people who need their help. These organisations do not often assist at tribunal/appeal hearings. I can.
In July I returned to live in the UK and have now opened the doors of The Advice Service to all in need. If you feel you have not received justice, or you feel your rights have been abused or ignored then please call upon me for confidential bespoke, expert advice. I am here to defend your rights whatever your need, wherever you need me. Do not suffer in silence. I can be a guide by your side and shine light upon your situation. Call upon me via telephone, email/written communication, no matter where you are or whatever your problem. First hour consultation is free.
I thank you for your time and wish you peace and good health.