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

Workers Can Win: an interview with Ian Allinson

GMLC interviewed Ian Allinson, author of upcoming book Workers Can Win: A Guide to Organising At Work. The book intends to offer practical support for workers to get involved with…

The Bill of Rights: what does it mean for human rights?

GMLC campaign volunteer Judy Sutton analyses the government’s plan to scrap and replace the Human Rights Act 1998, explaining the proposed changes and why they are a risk to all…

Asylum seeker mythbuster: 6 myths about asylum in the UK

GMLC campaign volunteer Millie Booth takes on six comments commonly made online about asylum seekers and refugees.   The UK takes too many refugees! Compared to who? The UNHCR state that…

“If the prime minister perseveres with his latest right to buy plan, it will exacerbate the housing crisis.”

In this article, first published in the June 2022 issue of Legal Action magazine, barrister Patricia Tueje argues that the government’s new Right to Buy plans will worsen the housing…

Struggles facing litigants in person: John’s story

With the majority of areas of employment law now ‘out of scope’ for legal aid, meaning employees cannot access free advice and representation for most types of employment case, many…

“Thou shalt not ration justice”: access to justice in the North West

GMLC campaign volunteer Katherine Brown reports from GMLC’s event ‘Mind the Gap’ on Thursday 19 May, held at Thompsons Solicitors.   On Thursday 19 May, Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC)…

Mind the Gap: Access to Justice in the North West, 19 May, 6pm

Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC) invites you to join us at a public meeting to discuss how we can support individuals and communities across Greater Manchester and the North West…

Why Judicial Review needs to be protected

Judicial review is a key form of legal claim that enables people to challenge unfair government policies or breaches of human rights. This government’s Judicial Review Bill is an attack…