Lastest Updates from the Greater Manchester Law Centre

  • Tickets are selling out: “Law and Disorder” Quiz 7th December
  • “I couldn’t have got this result without such a good team helping me”
  • Debbie Abrahams MP meets us at our premises
  • Our submission to the disability benefits inquiry
  • Snapshot #3 from our Annual Report

Tickets are selling out: “Law and Disorder” Quiz 7th December

On the theme of “Law & Disorder”, we will be hosting a Christmas Quiz on the evening of Thursday 7th December at TROF in the Northern Quarter.

Capacity is limited so make sure you book via eventbrite. All proceeds will go towards supporting our vital services and campaigns. You can pay on the door on the night. We are asking for £10 per ticket and additional donations are welcome.

Everyone is welcome, please invite your friends.
See you there!

“I couldn’t have got this result without such a good team helping me”

David came to GMLC after a sudden episode left him hospitalised. He was examined and doctors found clots and scarring inside his head, leading to episodes of seizures which affected his short term memory.He had been refused financial benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions: both Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Our caseworker Anne helped him to appeal, and we successfully reversed the decision. At the tribunal, David was awarded 9 points for his PIP application. This is a very high score, meaning that the severity of his condition was apparent and he needed assistance with his daily living needs. He was given a 3 year award.

“Just a quick message to say thanks again to you and all at GMLC for all the help and the work you put in to get this result. I’m still getting my head round it! Also to Anne who convinced me from day one that I had a case and I could win it. I couldn’t have got this result without such a good team helping me. Thanks again” – David, GMLC Client

In our first year, we helped clients to win back over £400,000 in benefits that they should not have been denied in the first place. Read more about our record here.

Debbie Abrahams MP meets us at our premises

It was a pleasure to welcome Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to our premises earlier this months. We discussed our refusal to be complicit in the Universal Credit roll-out, our clients’ experiences with ESA and PIP, the impending government review of Legal Aid reforms, and supporting our services across the whole  of Greater Manchester. We are pleased to have her support.

We discussed the importance of legal services reaching out into different areas of Greater Manchester, and Debbie was particularly helpful in suggesting ways that we can meet the legal advice needs in Oldham. She also shared our desire to make an impact on the national debate.

After the publication of the Bach Report on Access to Justice, legal aid is in the political limelight at a national level, and we are working hard with our supporters to fight for free, high quality, face-to-face legal advice and representation.

Our submission to the disability benefits inquiry

We help our clients to navigate an unfair and convoluted benefits system. We use this experience and work with out clients to challenge and change the system so that people are not denied justice in the first place.

In November, we compiled case studies, interviews with caseworkers and client testimonies to make a submission to the governmental inquiry into disability benefits. We exposed the flaws as we see them and proposed viable solutions.

This inquiry is already causing a stir. As reported in the Guardian:

A House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people in despair at the system, including dozens who say they have been driven to suicidal thoughts by the process.

Frank Field, the chair of the work and pensions committee, said it would be usual to receive about 100 responses, but the inquiry had been deluged by people sharing stories about being denied disability benefits or battles to keep their entitlements.”

We will be following up with submission with further campaigning activity, so keep an eye on our bulletins, social media channels and website for updates and further information on how you can support us.

Snapshot #3 from our Annual Report

This is the third in a series of snapshots from our Annual Report, which was presented at our AGM 28th September 2017.

In this section on Campaigning and Fundraising, we describe why and how we campaign for free access to justice.

“Why do we campaign?

From the beginning, we have been more than a Law Centre. We are a campaign for access to justice. We demand free legal advice and representation for all who need it, and we challenge unjust legislation and policy. In practice, this means ensuring our elected representatives keep Legal Aid on the political agenda. It means calling on the rest of the legal sector to support us in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. It means building a sustainable volunteer base, because we are run by and for our community. It means producing hard-hitting commentary on topical issues. It means working with similar organisations to maximise our shared impact. It means creating innovative ways of funding our survival. We are fighting, together, for free access to justice, and this requires a multitude of tactics.”

Click here to read on.