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Free legal services offered to cybercrime victims

A law firm and a charity have joined forces to offer legal services without charge to victims of cybercrime in the UK, in further evidence that online threats are becoming increasingly mainstream.

The Cyber Helpline said it had witnessed a “catastrophic cybercrime boom in recent years” that had reached new heights in 2022, with cybercrime rising 149% in the past twelve months alone.

In a bid to address the problem, it has partnered up with Edmonds Marshall McMahon (EMM) to offer pro-bono legal services to victims of social engineering and other forms of digital crime.

These will include free advice to UK citizens who have been targeted by scammers and fraudsters online, in an effort to increase the number of cybercriminals brought to trial.

The two organizations said that cybercrime had intensified since the coronavirus pandemic began, with even more daily life tasks being conducted online than before, creating a fresh bonanza of illicit opportunities for digital crooks.

Ashley Fairbrother, a lawyer at EMM, said: “Losses from cybercrime go beyond personal and company finances. Cybercrime puts pressure on public services, fuels organised crime and psychologically impacts individuals. The psychological impact is particularly pronounced in today’s world, where technology touches every aspect of our lives and means that victims often feel like there is no escape.”

Fairbrother added that he hoped the joint project with the charity helpline would “set a powerful example and send a clear message to cybercriminals” that their victims will have recourse to legal services without having to depend on the state.

“We hope this will at least give perpetrators pause for thought, and reassurance to any cybercrime victims,” he said.

Cyber Helpline founder Rory Innes added: “Not enough is being done to support victims of cybercrime and online harm. Millions of individuals and families are left to fend for themselves against motivated and skilled cybercriminals.

“Law enforcement, law, victim support funding, and regulation of online platforms is years behind where it needs to be to provide adequate protection. This lack of support has led to a huge number of victims being denied access to justice.”

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