Wednesday 14th February: Solidarity with Grenfell rally | A thank you card for our student caseworker | GMLC’s “excellence in legal practice management and client care”| Our submission to the ESA and PIP inquiry & public meeting 22nd February| Bolton Needs A Law Centre: public meeting success | Saturday 10th February: Ceilidh fundraiser
Saturday 10th February: Ceilidh fundraiser
Get your tickets in advance here or just turn up!
Put on your dancing shoes and join us!
With music by The Beech Band
Saturday, 10th February, 7pm
Saint Ninian’s United Reformed Church
515 Wilbraham Road, Manchester M21 0UF, Near Chorlton tram station
Entrance fee: £10 waged/£5 unwaged
Please bring your own drinks.
Great music | Great atmosphere | Great raffle | You do the dancing!
All for a great cause!
Wednesday 14th February: Solidarity with Grenfell rally
We are calling on our volunteers and supporters to join us on February 14th. Please email email@example.com if you would like to attend this rally with GMLC.
GMATUC (the representative body for grassroots trade unionists in Greater Manchester) have organised a rally in support of Grenfell residents at 6:30pm on 14th February, Market Street, Manchester.
The march will coincide with the march in Grenfell itself. Our march will start from the covered area outside Boots to the statue in Piccadilly Gardens where there will be a minute’s silence, followed by a few short speeches by two Grenfell residents, the Fire Brigades Union, North West UNISON & TUC, and a Greater Manchester Housing activist.
A question of access to justice:
GMLC volunteers researched and published this excellent article, explaining why the Grenfell residents were denied justice:
“On Wednesday 14th June, a housing block engulfed in flames and blackened by charred bricks became a flaming beacon for social injustice. One of the many questions in need of urgent address is whether the current law denied the residents of Grenfell Tower proper access to justice.” Read the full article here.
A thank you card for our student caseworker
As part of our Legal Advocacy Support Project [LASP], students from the Manchester Law School represent clients at appeal hearings.
Mr X was in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance for his long term and degenerative health conditions. His payments stopped after the maximum period of entitlement and his application to revise the decision was rejected.
Our LASP student Caseworker, Amina Naqqash, successfully appealed the decision and Mr X’s benefits were reinstated.
In addition to a gracious thank you note, Mr X also gave a generous donation to the GMLC.
We are pleased to be able to help clients in these situations but we are angry that they have to fight for these benefits in the first place. Read more about our campaigns here.
GMLC’s “excellence in legal practice management and client care”
We are very proud to announce that the Law Society have granted GMLC the prestigious Lexcel Quality Mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care. We just started our second year and we don’t charge for our services.
Thank you for the commitment and great work from our management committee, staff, many volunteers and especially our supervising solicitor Ngaryan Li!
Our submission to the ESA and PIP inquiry & public meeting 22nd February
In November last year, we submitted our findings to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments.
We asked: Is the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) process working well for claimants of ESA and/or PIP?
One claimant said:
“They don’t review the medical evidence. There is no investigation on whether it is accurate or not. They don’t go against what the physio or nurse or whoever said in the first place. How bad would it look if they were to point out at this stage that the ESA or PIP decision is wrong? So it’s not going to happen. My whole life being decided in 40 minutes by a physio who knows nothing about my mental health. “Because after that no-one wants to admit they are wrong.”
We found that all advisers report an overwhelmingly high rate of wrong decisions by the DWP, with no meaningful correction by the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) process. It is widely perceived that there is an 80% target for the DWP officers – that is, that they aim not to revise initial decisions at MR. This must be the wrong approach.
Conversely, it is vital to ensure independent, face-to-face, accessible legal advice – and advocacy – for claimants. “Without an advocate [the DWP] just walk all over you.”
Read the rest of our findings, evidence and our proposals for change here.
Following this, we invite anyone who is claiming or used to claim Personal Independence Payment or Employment Support Allowance who has mental health needs or any carers and advocates who were involved in these decisions, to come to a public meeting on Mental Health and Welfare Benefits on Thursday 22nd February 2018. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.
Bolton Needs a Law Centre: public meeting success
We thank everyone who attended the public meeting in Bolton on 2nd February. The turn out was beyond expectations and hopefully local residents in Bolton can build on that to move the idea from theory to reality.
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi emphasised that there is no democracy if there is no equity in the law and that this should be a core principle of our society. She is acutely aware that free face-to-face access to justice is scarce in Bolton as everywhere else.
Denise McDowell, from the GMLC management committee, shared the story of the commitment, resilience and work activists and residents put into establishing the Greater Manchester Law Centre, demonstrating what can be achieved within a short space of time.
The next step is a meeting on 15th February to map out further plans. Please email Kev Allsop, email@example.com, if you want to get involved.
From left to right: Ngaryan Li, GMLC supervising solicitor; Denise McDowell, GMLC management committee; Yasmin Qureshi MP; Kev Allsop, GMLC management committee.
4 things you can do to help Greater Manchester Law Centre
- You can donate and/or set up a standing order to help fund our key legal services
- Get involved by either volunteering, becoming a member, a supporter, or if you are an organisation, you can affiliate with us. Go to the Get involved tab on the home page.
- For those of you on Twitter, #whyweneedGMLawCentre or #FreeAccesstoJustice and tell us why GMLC is so important.
- Ask for a letter of support from your local councillor/MP/community organisation/trade union branch and send it in to us.