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
No Evictions demonstration

March for free access to justice, February 2017 (top), and demonstration against Covid evictions, 2020 (bottom).

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
For Better Employment Rights Button

For Better Employment Rights

In 2021, GMLC set up an Employment Advice service to give people advice about their rights at work and to support litigants in person attempting to navigate the employment tribunal system without representation. However, the package of legal rights on offer to UK employees is minimal, with many rights only starting after 2 years’ service. Even where a claim may be possible to make for lost wages or discrimination, employment tribunals have such a large backlog that it can be years before many cases are heard.

Legal solutions are not enough to ensure workers are safe from unfair treatment in work. We need to fight for better pay and working conditions, better employment rights, and better access to justice to enforce them. GMLC strongly encourages all employees to join a trade union to campaign and fight collectively for improvements to conditions.

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

Deaths in Temporary Accommodation

996 people died homeless in 2020. In 90% of cases where housing status was recorded the person had some form of temporary accommodation at the time of their death.

Alongside campaigners from frontline homelessness services and projects and barristers specialising in inquests, we are campaigning around the issue of deaths in homeless accommodation. We are calling on the local authority to acknowledge the risk to life that arises in homeless temporary accommodation and agree to build in systems to the process of commissioning such accommodation that will minimise the risk of preventable deaths.

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

Deaths in Temporary Accommodation Button

Recent GMLC Campaigns News

Fighting for our Rights after Covid: GMLC AGM 2021 Report

On 23 November at 6pm, GMLC conducted its first ever hybrid Annual General Meeting, with over 55 attendees spread across the event in person and online. We set up a…

Does Living Wage Week help us deliver employment rights?

Above: graphs from the IPPR report ‘No Longer Managing’, showing increases in the likelihood of poverty in working households and the dramatic rise in housing costs for poor households since…

The tsunami of Covid evictions is here

GMLC campaign volunteer Callum Ward summarises The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s recent research into possession proceedings, highlighting how the use of mandatory grounds is making people homeless without a chance…

MPs and Peers urged to broaden the scope of civil legal aid to meet legal need

Campaign volunteer Hoejong Jeong summarises the new Westminster Commission review of legal aid, and asks: whilst it is a welcome reminder of the problems we face, does this report tell…

Interview with GMLC volunteer Ajibike Babalola

We interview our service volunteer Ajibike Babalola about her work with GMLC, her experiences working for the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and the state of access to justice in…

Stop the £20 Universal Credit Cut!

GMLC Director Jason Tetley writes on the urgent need to stop the Universal Credit cut next week. On Tuesday 6 October, the Universal Credit uplift ends, plunging an additional half…

Improving access to Naloxone: a life-saving drug

Have your say! The government is doing a consultation on making life saving drug that reverses effects of heroin overdose available to homelessness services. The consultation closes today, but you…

Inquests – a short guide for bereaved families

We have produced this guide because we are concerned about the rising number of homeless deaths in the UK and want to offer support and information to bereaved families who…