LAWYERS reacted to the government’s butchery of legal aid by clubbing together yesterday to launch their own law centre offering support to those in need.
The lawyers in Manchester hope to inspire others across Britain to do the same to restore access to legal advice to people who cannot afford to pay for it.
More than 50 Manchester solicitors, trade unionists and representatives of community and campaign groups met in the city to launch the project.
Solicitor John Nicholson said: “It’s a campaign for access to justice,” adding that the opening of a new law centre would “fly in the face of the cuts and closures.”
The group has appointed two development workers and is backed by five patrons, including former Court of Appeal judge Sir Stephen Sedley, human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield and trade union lawyer John Hendy.
Lord Willy Bach, who is conducting an inquiry into the legal aid system, and Morning Star-supporting actor Maxine Peake are also backing the project.
Mr Nicholson said: “All have spoken generously and forcefully of the importance of law centres and their own commitment to ensuring access to legal advice and representation for those most in need.”
The group has launched an appeal for financial support from trade unions, individuals and organisations, and is seeking premises in Manchester.
“People offered to gain affiliation from their trades unions, from the Green Party, from the People’s Assembly, as well as practical help with training volunteers and legal advisers,” added Mr Nicholson.