GMLC Staff

GMLC employs a number of part-time and full-time staff co-ordinating our campaigns, communications, services and volunteering activities, as well as a number of lawyers and legal caseworkers to advise and represent you if you need support with your housing, welfare benefits or employment situation. Our job vacancies, when any roles are available, are here.

GMLC Volunteers

GMLC was started by volunteers and continues to rely on volunteers to keep everything running smoothly. Volunteers help handle our queries, deliver our services, write and research for us, support our campaigns and fundraise to keep us going. You can see more of what our volunteers do here. Our volunteering vacancies, whenever there are any positions available, are here.

GMLC Trustees

GMLC’s trustee board oversees the overall direction and strategy of GMLC. The board of trustees makes decisions with the help of our members. You can become a member here to join in with our Annual General Meetings and participate in our discussions to decide what GMLC does next. Our current board is listed below.

Andy Walsh (Chair)

Andy is the Chair of GMLC Board of Trustees and is a life-long trade unionist and community activist. Andy was a founder member of the campaign to establish GM Law Centre.

Ben Clay (Treasurer)

Ben is a housing activist and campaigner. Ben first got involved with GMLC working with the Unite Community Branch helping people appeal PIP assessments. He now works as an organiser for the Greater Manchester Tenants Union, which he helped establish. Ben and GMTU helped develop a closer working relationship between the GMTU and GM Law Centre.

Denise McDowell (Company Secretary)

Denise was one of the founder members of the campaign to set up GM Law Centre to address the lack of access to justice for people in Greater Manchester, Denise is also CEO of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and on the Board of Electronic Immigration Network (EIN).

Aisha Khan

Aisha originally worked as a Mental Health and Child Protection Social Worker and was committed to social justice and working with vulnerable people. She has since attended Manchester Metropolitan University where she undertook the Graduate Diploma in Law and received a commendation. Aisha then completed a LLM in Human Rights in 2014 and the Legal Practice Course in 2017 in which she achieved a Distinction in both qualifications. Aisha joined the Greater Manchester Law Centre in 2016 and is a strong believer in the right to publicly funded legal advice. She is also a solicitor at Robert Lizar Solicitors and continues to represent vulnerable people.

Ali Treacher

Alison spent 15 years as a care worker and is co-secretary of Care and Support Workers Organise, an organisation set up during the pandemic to raise concerns around the terms and conditions of care workers and failing social care provision. Alison is a Unite the Union activist and sits on the executive of Manchester Trades Union Council.

Arwa Graf

Arwa has volunteered with the Law Centre from its inception in 2016. As a law student, she assisted and supported clients alongside caseworkers. After being called to the Bar in 2021, she continued her work as an advocate and caseworker, representing GMLC’s clients. Arwa is currently working as a legal advisor at Manchester City Council.

Ciara Bartlam

Ciara is a barrister at Garden Court North Chambers and has volunteered at the Law Centre since its inception. She was one of the first students to participate in the Legal Advocacy Support Project.

Craig Holmes

Craig is a practising barrister specialising in immigration and public law. He has a history of voluntary work with a number of advice charities in the Manchester area.

Giles Elliot

Giles has been involved in welfare rights advice for nearly thirty years, including a nine-year stint at South Manchester Law Centre. He was also involved in setting up the Legal Advocacy Support Project at GMLC. He is currently the advice service manager at Manchester Mind, a local mental health charity.

Kev Allsop

A lifelong trade unionist and justice campaigner, Kev is the president of Greater Manchester TUC where he brings together trade unions and community groups to campaign for their shared objectives.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep is an Immigration caseworker specialising in asylum and human rights cases. He previously worked at the Coventry Law Centre and then the South Manchester Law Centre and was also part of the group that set up the GM Law Centre.

GMLC Patrons

We thank our patrons for their ongoing support.

The radical lawyer, who has worked on some of the most well-known human rights cases – Michael Mansfield QC is one of the most accomplished and conscientous lawyers this country has ever produced. A proponent of the earlier law centres in Manchester, Michael has been at the forefront of access to justice, both as a lawyer and as an activist. His most recent work has seen him assist the families in the Hillsborough Inquiry and in the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

PeakeMaxine-1-240x300_for-webBolton-born Maxine Peake is an incredibly accomplished actress on both radio, stage and screen. She has been notable for her role in Dinnerladies, Manchester-based series Shameless and the legal drama Silk. In addition, she had the leading role in the critically acclaimed Hamlet, and received accolades for her performances in The Children’s Hour and Miss Julie. Throughout her life, Maxine has supported and engaged in all manner of causes and movements.


A life peer in the House of Lords, Lord Bach was the former Shadow Attorney General and is now the Shadow Spokesperson for Justice. A former barrister, councillor and head of chambers, ‘Willy’ Bach is heading the  review of the legal aid reforms – which was published as the The final report of the Bach Commission in September 2017.

He has been and outspoken advocate for access to justice and our new law centre.


Labeled as the barrister champion of the trade union movement and ‘one of the best advocates at the Bar’, John Hendy QC has been instructed on some of the most important labour and trade union cases in UK legal history. He has drafted applications to the supervisory committees of the International labour Organisation and European Social Charter.

He is also a frequent writer, speaker and outspoken supporter of the law centre movement.

Robert Lizar

Robert Lizar established his practice in 1978 in the heart of Moss Side (and down the road from GMLC). He and his firm have been committed to providing legal services that promote social justice. Robert has had an impressive and important career defending  the human rights of their clients and exposing miscarriages of justice.

Robert Lizar provides representation at mental health tribunals, inquests, and General Medical Council (GMC) hearings, whilst his firm’s prison law department has developed an enviable reputation nationwide.


Dr Erinma Bell, MBE DL, became a co-founder and CEO of her own formidable charity known as CARISMA (Community Alliance for Renewal Inner South Manchester Area),  a front-line community based group set up to offer life chances for young people, giving them positive alternatives other than violent street and gun crimes. Erinma also leads on work around issues such as Restorative Justice, Conflict Resolution and Peace Making, Keeping and Building within an urban environment. Her charity CARISMA (which has recently merged with the charity Chrysalis) was awarded with the Queens Jubilee Award in 2007. Erinma, for voluntary services to her community, was awarded with an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen in 2008 and became a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester in 2012.


Dr Dawn Edge is a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on tackling inequalities in health and access to care under-served groups such as ethnic minorities and people involved with the Criminal Justice System.

Dawn is also the university’s Academic Lead for Diversity & Inclusion with a specific remit to improve staff and student recruitment, retention, progression. She is currently working with others within the university and nationally to theorise and develop strategies to improve student experience of university; specifically addressing the ‘attainment gap’ where, despite equivalent grades on entry, some groups of students are less likely to receive  ‘good degrees’ on completion of their degrees.

Dawn is an active supporter of the ‘Black Lawyers Matter’ campaign.

john nicholson patron image

John Nicholson was a legal aid immigration and asylum barrister at Kenworthys Chambers in Salford. As a member of the Bar Council’s Civil Legal Aid Panel and Pro Bono Board, he represented the former South Manchester Law Centre in its first judicial review against cuts in 2010. After SMLC closed in 2014, he helped found Greater Manchester Law Centre, becoming the Chair of our trustee board for several years. When he stepped back from the role in 2020, he was invited to become a Patron to recognise his tireless commitment to GMLC and to access to justice.

Recent News from GMLC’s Patrons

Maxine Peake on the importance of Everybody Out

Watch Maxine Peake’s video on the importance of resisting and campaigning against evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sorry We Missed You?

Sorry We Missed You: A Film Screening and Q & A with Director Ken Loach   On 4th Feb GMLC hosted the widely celebrated director Ken Loach at our community…

Robert Lizar Solicitors quash sentences for anti fracking protestors

Robert Lizar is a patron of GMLC. He and his firm are committed to providing legal services that promote access to justice, and we share these principles. Solicitors from the firm Nicola…

GMLC appeal supported by Maxine Peake

This September, the Greater Manchester Law Centre is hosting its Annual General Meeting, celebrating how far we have come and the team we have built. We have reclaimed over one…