Greater Manchester Law Centre (steering group) is an exciting, soon-to-be law centre offering free, high-quality legal advice and representation for our communities.
The situation may seem pretty dire at the moment, with 2.7 million people in Greater Manchester served by just 2 law centres and the city of Manchester becoming a ‘law centre free zone’. There are troubling stories emerging all the time following law centre closures and the Legal Aid and civil justice reforms.
Recent ones include victims of domestic violence forced to face their abusers in court, limiting legal aid for actions against police misconduct and pressure is also being felt at the top with judges. This is not to mention the increase of people representing themselves (‘litigants-in-person’) which hugely compromises people’s ability to give themselves the best opportunity to win a case in court.
A recent report published in 2015 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that ‘disabled people, women and people from ethnic minorities are particularly affected by the reforms’. The demand for a law centre is therefore clear. Without high quality legal representation, people simply do not have access to justice.
But with this pressure comes hope. Law centres and the people power that has been their backbone are doing fantastic things across the country in ensuring that access to justice is maintained. This is why you are so important. You are going to be a part of a movement, from its very beginning, to create a new law centre. You’ll be a part of a history that will defy the odds.