The Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC) have received a cheque of £11035.11. The amount was from Kenworthy’s Chambers, amounting to a percentage of their barristers’ fees.
Patrick Cassidy, Deputy Head of Kenworthy’s Chambers, said: “You have reawakened the sense that we can create our own movements, our own legal services. We are delighted to give support and we hope that our gesture will inspire other chambers and firms.”
The cheque was delivered at the GMLC premises in Moss Side. It was received by GMLC volunteers and patrons, including community activist Dr Erinma Bell and human rights lawyer Robert Lizar.
Due to law centre closures and cuts to legal services, GMLC’s community and volunteer-led model relies on innovative funding methods. This has included asking individual lawyers to donate 0.5% of their monthly earnings as part of Lawyers Fund Generation Scheme. Following discussions with Andy Burnham prior to the Mayoral election. An open letter and petition to the Mayor’s office in July this year. Inviting Andy to encourage well-off lawyers to make a financial contribution. All to help offset the cuts to the poorest (and unfunded) lawyers.
John Nicholson, Chair of GMLC, said: “We are therefore grateful for all the lawyers who support the pro bono, charitable and legal aid services. At the same time we will continue to call for the restoration of legal aid nationally.”
Robert Lizar echoed the call for sustainable funding for legal services: “Pro bono is not enough. It is a fraction of what is desperately needed in terms of legal support for our communities.”
GMLC opened in August 2016 with premises in Moss Side. They provide free legal advice and representation, currently specialising in welfare benefit claims. In their first year, they helped clients with lost benefits to claim back over £400,000.