“The right to justice is as important as a right to health or education.
For many, law centres provide the only means for free,
high-quality legal advice
and representation.
Quite simply, no representation means no access to justice.”

Anon

Welcome to the home page of the Greater Manchester Law Centre. Here, you’ll find out about our free legal services, our campaigns to secure access to justice, and the many different ways you can get involved. Fundamentally, this is a law centre by the community and for the community – so we do need your help!


Latest News

Greater Manchester Law Centre General Election 2017 survey

In this election we are asking what commitments to Free Access to Justice candidates in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan – are willing to make.

We have gathered these questions from our own members and supporters and will be making the results available. Come back to this website, follow us on Twitter or go to our Facebook page to find out about all our initiatives during this election period.

We look forward to hearing as many positive ideas as possible and working with elected representatives on the future of Free Access to Justice.

See below our question and we are asking you too to take some action.

GE2017

Our questions to Greater Manchester constituency candidates

In the last few years, people have faced great hardship as a result of cuts in benefits, rising homelessness, uncertainties at work and escalating racism. Meanwhile legal aid, an essential part of the welfare state and the justice system, has been cut again and again.

People facing these problems may be able to pay for a lawyer, if they can find one. But those most in need are those most deprived of access to justice.

Greater Manchester Law Centre has been established recently to campaign for free legal advice and representation for everyone in need in the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester.

We know that people need walk-in, face to face, high quality legal advice and representation. This means people need a new generation of social welfare lawyers, who are not saddled with years of university debt.

We are fighting together with others for free access to justice and we need our representatives to have vision and commitment.

The following questions are being put to candidates:

1) If elected to the Westminster Parliament, would you vote for the restoration of legal aid, that has been severely cut and restricted by the Legal Aid, Sentencing, Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) and implemented by the Legal Aid Agency since?

2) Draconian sanctions have been imposed on benefit claimants. Would you be willing to speak and vote against these?

3) Benefit restrictions have particularly affected people with disabilities? Would you be willing to learn more about these and speak in Parliament about the hardships which they have caused to individuals in need?

4) Would you vote for improved and enforceable rights for tenants, in “social housing” and in private rented accommodation?

5) Would you vote to ensure that “immigration” was restored to the “scope” of legal aid, so that there would be effective legal advice and representation for people with human rights claims, people seeking to appeal against deportation and people seeking to be (re)united with their families from abroad?

6) Specifically, locally, would you be willing to use your voice to ensure the funding of free and accessible provision of legal advice and representation in your own constituency, whether through local or Greater Manchester services?

Take action!

Please write to the candidates in your area to ask them these or your own questions about legal aid, welfare, housing and immigration. If you need contact details, please email us and let us know in which constancy/area you live in within Greater Manchester. Please share with us the answers you receive!

#Vote


Introducing the Campaign Volunteer Scheme

We have been hard at work reviewing GMLC's volunteering opportunities. Our aim is to provide volunteering opportunities for those who cannot necessarily commit a full day per week to working on our premises, or for those who prefer to focus on our outreach and campaigning activity.

We are therefore pleased to launch our Campaign Volunteer Scheme.

Whilst Services Volunteers work regularly on our premises, Campaign Volunteers can support GMLC remotely, or by attending events during weekends and evenings, or by giving the odd day here and there.

If this sounds like the opportunity for you, please download our Campaign Volunteer Application Form.

Our Services Volunteer scheme is still in place, and if you would prefer a role that entails working regularly on our premises and facilitating our legal services, download our Services Volunteer Application Form.

Campaign volunteer roles at GMLC

Outreach Events

We frequently attend fairs, festivals, talks and campaigning events where we host stalls and distribute leaflets. These are excellent opportunities to network, fundraise and garner support. For these events we require volunteers to run stalls, collect donations, take contact details, and assist with logistics. Volunteers with their own vehicles can assist with transporting materials to events, for example.

Volunteers will be notified as and when these opportunities arise.

Fundraising

Volunteers not only facilitate but initiate and organise our fundraising activities. This may include events such as pub quizzes, and crowd-funding schemes such as phone-banking.

We may ask volunteers with relevant experience to initiate these events, or ask for support when they occur.

Online Presence

Maintaining our presence on social media is essential. Campaign volunteers can maximise our impact by sharing and promoting our content, as well as assisting in creating content and managing our accounts.

We invite volunteers to contribute material for our website, including articles, blog posts and opinion pieces on the topic of access to justice.

Campaign Administration

Our databases, members’ lists and administration systems require constant maintenance. We require volunteers sporadically or on a regular basis to assist with these tasks.

Strategising and Research

As well as facilitating our campaigning activity, we invite volunteers to decide which areas we should focus on and to shape our strategy.

We will meet with volunteers who have relevant campaigning experience or interests to help with this. This will include identifying groups and activities in Greater Manchester than we should communicate with, researching gaps in legal service provision that we should focus on, and designing plans and targets for the future.

 

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us via ku.gr1495905679o.wal1495905679mg@tn1495905679empol1495905679eved1495905679, drop in to our premises at 159 Princess Road, or give us a call on 0161 769 2244.


Westminster General Election announced – what will the parties say about legal aid?

In the last few years, people have faced greater and greater hardship as a result of cuts in benefits, rising homelessness, uncertainties at work and escalating racism.

Meanwhile legal aid, an essential part of the welfare state and the justice system, has been cut again and again.

People facing these problems may be able to pay for a lawyer, if they can find one. But those most in need are those most deprived of access to justice.

What will the political parties commit themselves to doing, in this forthcoming Westminster General Election?

Greater Manchester Law Centre will be calling on them all to take a completely different direction – nationally and in Greater Manchester:

We know that people need access to legal aid and we are asking that the next Government reverses the cuts.

We know that people need walk in, face to face, high quality legal advice and representation and we demand that this is made available to everyone.

We are demanding the resources to ensure a new generation of social welfare lawyers, who are not saddled with years of university debt.

We know how benefit sanctions and lack of affordable housing have damaged people’s lives; and we are saying that all political parties should commit themselves to ending these hardships for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

John Nicholson
Chair, Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC)

What do you think?

We invite all our readers to let us know what GMLC and all our supportive friends and organisations should be asking candidates in this Election to say – and, more important, to do.

Please  email ku.gr1495905679o.wal1495905679mg@tn1495905679empol1495905679eved1495905679 with your suggestions.

With the help of your contribution we will develop a survey and send it to all parliamentary candidates.

Please watch out for results.