Why we campaign

From the beginning, we have been more than a Law Centre. We started as a campaign for access to justice.

First, we demand funding and support for all who need legal advice and representation.

You can read more about the effects of Legal Aid cuts and ways to fight them here. We have never aspired merely to plug the gaps left by government funding cuts, which is why we demand the restoration of Legal Aid.

We are also fighting for a new generation of social welfare lawyers. Again, we demand the restoration of legal aid, including paid, not just voluntary lawyers.

Second, we are fighting together to change government housing and welfare  policies.

This means challenging injustices in the legislation, and in housing and welfare policy itself. Our volunteers on the frontline of our services see the hardship faced by the vulnerable in our community, and we campaign so that we can use this experience to enact real change through strategic litigation.

  • 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 creating innovative ways of funding our survival.
  • 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 putting our campaigning weight behind legal challenges to unfair policy and legislation.
  • It means working with similar organisations to maximise our shared impact.

 

GMLC opening - march with banners

March for free access to justice, February 2017, and visit of Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, to GMLC.

Our Active Campaigns

Income Maximisation

There have been over 2 million new Universal Credit claims since March 2020 and we estimate that there have been over 100,000 job losses across Greater Manchester as a result of Covid-19.  The adverse effects of the pandemic will be felt by our communities over next few months at least, and potentially far longer. GMLC is committed to assisting those that are struggling. We wish to ensure residents have immediate support through the specific Covid-19 programs available but as importantly ensure that individuals and families can access the income they are entitled to through our welfare rights take up campaign. The benefits system is daunting at the best of times, with many people and families trying to navigate this for the first time.

Click on the link on the right for more information and news about this campaign.

income max link
greater manchester against evictions campaign link

Greater Manchester Against Evictions

Formerly called ‘Everybody Out?’, our Greater Manchester Against Evictions campaign focuses on access to safe and secure housing for all, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. GMLC believes that everyone should be protected from homelessness, irrespective of their immigration status. We have taken action with tenants’ unions and homelessness organisations to campaign against illegal and unfair evictions, and continue to fight for a home for everyone.

Click on the picture on the left for more information and news about this campaign.

Legal Aid Landscape: Access to Justice

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.

Click on the picture on the right for more information and news about this campaign.

access to justice link

Recent GMLC Campaigns News

The Justice Gap widens: unemployment and debt during the Covid-19 pandemic

Cover picture: bus workers on strike in April 2021 following their employer Go North West’s decision to use ‘Fire and Rehire’ tactics, laying off workers and then offering them new…

Three times GMLC won for benefits claimants in Greater Manchester

For several years, GMLC has been working hard to provide help, advice and representation to Greater Manchester residents navigating a complex and often punitive welfare benefits system. One of the…

Covid-19 exposes an ongoing welfare crisis

GMLC has been campaigning against cuts to Universal Credit and in favour of an increase to all welfare benefits. We have been collecting photos of what £20 buys for our…

Online injustice during Covid-19

Guest article by author and barrister David Renton. He specialises in housing, discrimination and employment law. He acts for vulnerable tenants in disrepair possession hearings, and for employees, principally in…

The injustices of the justice system: three recent examples

Law student and GMLC’s campaign volunteer lead, Hoejong Jeong, considers the barriers that stand in the way of ordinary people getting access to justice, looking at three recent case studies…

Zero Covid Day of Action, 13 March 21: No More Social Murder!

On 13 March 2021, a few of us from the GMLC team took part in Zero Covid campaign’s Day of Action for a Zero Covid strategy. GMLC is affiliated to…

Resisting Unsafe Work: Zero Covid days of action

Zero Covid campaign, to which GMLC recently affiliated, has been working hard to highlight breaches in health and safety and employment law at work during the pandemic. To eliminate the…

‘Breathing space’ or thin air? The Debt Respite Scheme is no solution to spiralling rental debts

On 31 March 2021, the current eviction ‘ban’ ends and the extended warning of eviction for tenants of longer notice periods falls away. In place of these safety nets, the…