Juliet Lawson
Juliet Lawson
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Greater Manchester Law Centre tackling access to justice for GM residents

Up until last year, the only law centres in Greater Manchester were in Bury and Rochdale, with the rest of Greater Manchester and its 2.7million population effectively being a law centre-free zone.

In addition to the increased numbers of people representing themselves, after a recent report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission citing the disproportionate effect of the Legal Aid reforms and law centre closures on women, the disabled and BME communities, the demand for a new law centre was never more clear. Quite simply, no representation means no access to justice, and access to justice is, and clearly should be, a fundamental civil right. In 2015, legal aid lawyers (both barristers and solicitors), trade unions and advice organisations came together to set up a new community law centre for Greater Manchester.

They launched last year in Moss Side after a huge amount of fundraising and behind the scenes work, and now provide free legal advice for residents of Greater Manchester who, for multiple reasons of exclusion, are not able to access legal assistance from private solicitors.

They set out to offer advice and representation on welfare benefits, employment, housing, discrimination, human rights, debt, education, community care, mental health, immigration & asylum and public law.

As well as offering legal assistance, they will also campaign for the restoration of comprehensive legal aid as an essential part of the welfare state. Whilst volunteers will always be the backbone of the centre, thanks to donations from two national charitable trusts, they have been able to appoint a supervising solicitor for the centre and now, thanks to the continued support of another trust, they are able to appoint a development manager to work alongside them.

If you know anyone who might be interested in applying for this interesting role, further details can be found here.

More generally though, this is a call out to any solicitors, legal executives or barristers in the Manchester area who work in any of the above practice areas, who feel strongly about access to justice and would like to give back to their communities by giving a few hours of their time to the law centre and its clients.

You can contact the centre on 0161 769 2244 or email reception@gmlaw.org.uk.

Find out more about what they do at www.gmlaw.org.uk. #gmlawcentre fb.com/gmlawcentre @gmlawcentre

For more information contact Juliet Lawson at BCL Legal.

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