A key demand of GMLC’s manifesto is the restoration of Legal Aid to ensure access to free legal advice and representation across Greater Manchester. This is particularly true in the need for Employment advice: 95% of applicants at Manchester Employment Tribunal represent themselves and are Litigants in Person (LIP), which reduces their chances of success at tribunal.
Until recently, there were only two specialist employment advisors across the community advice sector in Greater Manchester. GMLC had developed a voluntary employment clinic staffed by barristers and lawyers over the past three years, but this was overwhelmed and struggled to meet demand.
GMLC has secured funding from the Ministry of Justice through the Access to Justice Foundation to employ a part-time employment lawyer, which will allow us to both increase our employment law clinic to a twice-weekly service and develop the range of advice we can provide on employment matters.
Our new employment solicitor Michael O’Donoghue joined us in late January and has advised over 60 people on their employment issues already. Michael said:
My role as employment solicitor is divided between the Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC) and its partner Citizens Advice North Lancashire (CANL). I work with two part-time Advice Navigators at GMLC and one full-time at CANL.
The project’s aim is to provide enhanced support and develop organisational capacity to support litigants in person in employment law, including support and casework for employment tribunal claims. The aim of my role is to both train and supervise employment information and advice services and undertake complex casework and litigation support.
Picture: L.S. Lowry’s Going to Work (1943) showing factory workers going to work at the Mather & Platt, Manchester, in the snow.