This page refers to research from the Right to Justice Report by the Bach Commission, 2017. Download here.
“As the last co-ordinator of South Manchester Law Centre put it at our first public meeting: ‘We have to do something’.” – John Nicholson, GMLC Chair
The Greater Manchester Law Centre grew out of a protest against cuts to services offering free legal advice and representation. This assault on access to justice is not specific to our region, and it is intrinsically linked to the decline of Legal Aid on a national level. However, as long as we fight, there is hope.
Why does Legal Aid exist?
Legal disputes are not abstract. They affect our homes, our families, our treatment as employees and more. They affect our very survival, for example when we fight for the rights of those claiming welfare benefits.
An effective legal system is the cornerstone of a free society. Legal Aid is not as visible as a system such as the National Health Service, but the right to justice is as important as a right to health or a right to education. First, the justice system needs to be accessible so that people can recognise when a dispute has a legal dimension. Otherwise, they can’t use the tools available to them to resolve it. Second, people must not be denied a fair footing because of a lack of resources to access advice and representation. Quite simply, no access to justice means no justice.