Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 0°C

Search

Suffolk Law Centre to open in Ipswich ending county’s ‘Legal Aid desert’

PUBLISHED: 13:48 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 11 March 2018

The launch of the campaign to raise £40k to open a law centre in Suffolk for people who can not afford to pay for legal advice, which now has the funding to go ahead Picture: GREGG BROWN

The launch of the campaign to raise £40k to open a law centre in Suffolk for people who can not afford to pay for legal advice, which now has the funding to go ahead Picture: GREGG BROWN

A new law centre is set to open in Suffolk later this month after a hard-fought campaign to make justice more accessible to people of all backgrounds.

Audrey Ludwig and Sue Wardell at the campaign launch to raise £40k to open a law centre in Suffolk for people who can not afford to pay for legal advice. Left to right, Audrey Ludwig and Sue Wardell. Picture: GREGG BROWNAudrey Ludwig and Sue Wardell at the campaign launch to raise £40k to open a law centre in Suffolk for people who can not afford to pay for legal advice. Left to right, Audrey Ludwig and Sue Wardell. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin will formally open the Suffolk Law Centre on Friday, March 23, creating the county’s first dedicated offices focussed on Legal Aid casework to help people who cannot afford a solicitor.

The £40,000 campaign for the centre’s set-up and staffing costs was launched by the Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) last summer, after secured a £32,000 Legal Education Foundation grant.

Campaigners wanted to bring an end to Suffolk’s “Legal Aid desert” so people could receive the help needed to on matters such as housing and immigration.

The campaign won support from big names including Mr Martin, Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere, Ian Steward of Refugee Support and more. The Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times supported the campaign. Many law firms donated to it.

Sandy Martin (Labour MP for Ipswich). Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONSSandy Martin (Labour MP for Ipswich). Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

The Suffolk Law Centre will be based at ISCRE’s St Matthews Street offices in Ipswich, but campaigners are keen to ensure it is accessible to people who need it across the whole county..

Audrey Ludwig ISCRE’s director of legal services, said: “Our goal is for Suffolk to be no longer a Legal Aid desert and we can look the rest of the country in the eye with more pride and confidence than before.

“Until now, through the generosity of volunteer lawyers specialising in a range of areas such as asylum and housing law, we have only been able to offer a few hours of free advice for each person coming to us.

“Now, we plan to do so much more to help some of those Suffolk residents who cannot afford private lawyers, facing legal problems and injustice, including representing them in court.”

Plans are already in place to recruit a practice manager and set up a helpdesk at the Family Court.

Campaigners warned, however, that the long-term future of the Centre still needed to be secured.

Sue Wardell, ISCRE’s business development officer said it costs “about £200,000” per year to finance a law centre, “So although we have a three-year business plan, we still need the ongoing support of the county and the legal profession nationwide to deliver proper access to justice for all,” she added.

A second inquest will be held into the death of a Filipino man who died whilst working aboard a ship after new evidence came to light.

Charity supporters are donning their Christmas jumpers today for Save the Children, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to give children a better future.

A policeman who went to the scene of the stabbing of Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens has described it as “the most challenging” he’d ever had to manage.

A call for St Edmundsbury Borough Council to consider its position for a People’s Vote on Brexit will be made next week.

A nuclear reactor which uses the same technology as is planned for Sizewell C has just been successfully launched in China.

It’s snow joke - the Met Office has forecast the cold stuff this weekend in Suffolk and north Essex.

Drivers believe that Suffolk has some of the worst roads in the country according to a nationwide survey of the state of Britain’s highways.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24