“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.”
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!
We depend on your generosity. Supporting us financially can not be easier. Go to our Donation page or just click the button below. Please note, you don’t need necessarily a PayPal account, just your debit/credit card.
This is the first in a series of snapshots from our Annual Report, which was presented at our AGM 28th September 2017.
In this section on Services and Case Studies, we describe the work we do on the ground, helping individuals fighting for justice.
GMLC offers specialist welfare rights advice and representation for those who are most disadvantaged in society. Not only has the Government removed Legal Aid for those who seek help with the overly complicated bene t system, they have introduced a host of welfare reforms to slash billions from the welfare budget.
Our specialist advisors help people from the very start by assisting them to complete ESA, Universal Credit and PIP claim forms. These forms are not simple, but the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and later the Tribunals Service, use these to assess entitlement to benefits, and claims can be severely compromised if vital information is missed at the very start.
Our work focuses on the needs of clients who are unable to access this support anywhere else. Face-to-face advice is particularly important for vulnerable clients.
All our specialist volunteer advisors have extensive knowledge of welfare benefits appeals and have successfully challenged DWP decisions both at review and appeal stage.
“I cannot praise highly enough the support and professionalism shown to myself during the process of Mandatory Reconsideration for PIP. The Greater Manchester Law Centre and my volunteer advisor Shaheen Mansoor kept me informed every step of the way.”
At the Greater Manchester Law Centre, we help people to navigate the existing benefits system. Vulnerable members of our community are struggling to access the support they deserve because of long and intimidating application forms and convoluted tribunal processes. In our first year, we helped clients with lost benefits to claim back £370,000, which demonstrates that many people are having to fight protracted battles to receive benefits that they should never have been denied in the first place. The consequences of an ineffective welfare system can be devastating, and Universal Credit appears destined to worsen the situation.
As a voluntary sector organisation, we are steadfast in our stance on Universal Credit: we will not assist in its implementation. If Universal Credit is so convoluted and ineffective that voluntary sector organisations are relied upon, then it should not be implemented at all. For example, a local Job Centre approached us earlier this year to ask if we would provide computers and supervisors to help people keep online journals for Universal Credit. Our response is clear: this is not the role of the voluntary sector. We will not be complicit in a scheme which results in further adversity and punishment for vulnerable people. We therefore refuse to offer Universal Credit services and we demand that its rollout is stopped.
Contact: Roz Burgin and Astrid Johnson, Development Workers, development[at]gmlaw.org.uk
Tel: 0161 769 2244
Registered Charity Number 1170317
Registered Company 09698401
The Greater Manchester Law Centre is a member of the Law Centres Network, www.lawcentres.org.uk.
Manchester Evening News: Special Report on Universal Credit roll-out http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/who-going-feed-kids-stress-13739245
6pm October 16th at our premises, 159 Princess Road.
All of our supporters and volunteers are welcome but you must let us know if you plan to attend: email development[at]gmlaw.org.uk
The launch of our Editorial and Research Group earlier this year was a resounding success. Our volunteers research and write articles on topical legal issues, which we then publish and share.
We paired students with professionals to make the most of our diverse volunteer base. These teams published sensitive and analytical pieces on the legal issues surrounding the Grenfell fire, on the causes of homelessness, and on the trials of those navigating the benefits system. These articles have been picked up by external news sources such as the Legal Voice, and widely shared on social media. Thank you to Chris, Heba, Jennifer, Sam, Eimear, Paul, Ben and Rosalie for their work.
At 6pm on October 16th, we will meet at our premises, 159 Princess Road, to compile teams for our next round of articles. If you are interested in joining us, please email development[at]gmlaw.org.uk
You can see our previous volunteer articles here:
- Social and Legal Causes of Homelessness by Heba Khalid and Ben Chamberlain. This article was picked up by campaigning organisations such as Greater Manchester Housing Action, Greater Manchester Poverty Action and The Mustard Tree.
- ESA Claims: A Study by Paul Cosier. This article has been particularly popular among Advice workers and social welfare NGOs.
- Were Grenfell Tower residents denied access to justice? By Eimear McCartan and Sam Blewitt. This article was published by LegalVoice and featured in their Top Stories.
If you have any ideas or suggestions about articles we should produce, please do not hesitate to email development[at]gmlaw.org.uk.