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Labour to create 200-strong army of social welfare lawyers with £18 million training fund

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Corbyn-led government also aims to restore legal aid cuts within first 100 days

Labour has pledged to provide free legal training for 200 social welfare lawyers and create a network of law centres to help “hard-hit” communities defend their rights and secure justice.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon MP committed to creating “a new generation of community lawyers” and “a golden era of law centres”, at the party’s conference in Brighton on Sunday.

On the former, and on the proviso the party gets into power, Labour will plough £18 million into a scheme to fund 200 social welfare lawyers based in law centres or other legal aid providers. They’ll be trained over the course of two years to specialise in matters such as benefits, debt, housing, employment, immigration and asylum.

The party says it will help to build on the success of initiatives already underway, such as the Legal Education Foundation’s Justice First Fellowship scheme.

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A further £20 million will go towards a new network of “people’s law centres”, where members of the community can receive legal support on local issues such as unlawful employment practices. Labour’s plan is part of a broader blueprint that will see it secure existing law centres and boost their provision with extra staff. New law centres will be set up in places such as food banks and health clinics.

“When people lack the money or the knowledge to enforce their rights, those rights are not worth the paper they are written on. We will put an end to that and ensure that justice serves the people, not just a privileged few,” said Burgon. “With a new generation of community lawyers and people’s law centres we’ll help those targeted by the Conservatives’ cuts to fight back, defend their hard-won rights and secure the justice they deserve.”

Burgon also pledged to restore legal aid cuts within the first 100 days of a Corbyn government. This largely concerns early legal help but will extend to debt, employment, immigration and mental health cases. “Labour will help ensure people can challenge the discrimination and abuses of power that they too often face in their everyday lives,” Burgon added.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), was introduced by David Cameron’s Tory government, and has, by and large, been criticised for bringing about cuts to legal aid. The statistics make for grim reading: legal aid expenditure fell from over £2.5 billion in 2005-6 to £1.5 billion in 2017-18, while law centres have reduced in number by 63 to 43 in the same period, and not-for-profit legal advice centres from 3,226 to 1,462.

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22 Comments

Anonymous

Brothers! Sisters!

A windfall tax on City greed to pay for legal aid!

70% income tax on all higher earners! A property tax on all homes worth more than £300,000!

Jeremy Corbyn will open doors to migrants from the Muslim world! Solidarity with our comrades in Palestine! Down with rich metropolitan elites!

VOTE LABOUR

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW

Anon

They see me trollin’…

LathamBoi

Oh God, please don’t.

Ciaran Goggins

Where do I apply?

Marc

It’s very simple. Cap salaries at 80k in London, 50k elsewhere. No lawyer is doing anything that justifies a penny more. How on earth they manage to con businesses into paying ridiculous fees for their services is beyond me.

Anon

If you did that, London would be fresh out of competent lawyers and, eventually, it would likely lead to a complete collapse in the UK’s position as a global financial hub. It would have disastrous consequences for our economy. Think before you speak, man.

Marc

A competent lawyer is someone who can use a search engine. No shortage of them buddy.

Anonymous

I agree with you, but this speaks to a wider issue – the runaway salaries of big business. Central London has become inhospitable to all but those in the top percentiles.

I also question why you think exorbitant salaries are the only way in which to secure competent lawyers. Half of all criminal barristers are woefully underpaid, but still perform their duties.

tips@legalcheek.com

This is what they call a “Stockholm syndrome”

Billy big bollocks

So wrong in so many ways. I advise my clients on transactions with values that have anywhere between 9 and 23 zeros on the end. What is a 4 figure hourly rate compared to that? Peanuts.

Anonymous

Oh, you poor thing. The alcantara on the steering wheel of your Lambo must be stained with tears.

Cravath

I too have dabbled in transactions that deal in pennies, quantified to the 9th or 23rd decimal place.

I applaud your niche and unsustainable practice.

Anon

Well that is a job opening for the non-Russell Group 2:1 chap from the job “dilemma” last week.

'I'm not a bully, I'm an angel who works for a charity!'

The quality of these ‘social welfare lawyers’ and the way they’ll treat others who work with them is going to be horrific

Anonymous

Charities do attract the depraved, the codependent and the messianic. And the morbidly obese, though they tend to be extreme codependent.

‘I’m not a bully, I’m an angel who works for a charity!’

In addition to the academically unable as ‘Legal Officers’, the narcissists, the talentless virtue-signallers and the ‘working class heroes’ earning ££££ of other people’s donated money to run them.

Preach.

Margherita Pizza

I also agree with doctors that obesity is medically dangerous and can reflect serious inner psychological issues.

Is someone in LC obese? Why do they keep deleting comments about obesity?

Tom

An army of lawyers for the impoverished, on top of finding the cash to put the 7% currently receiving private education into the state system, nationalising just about everything & scrapping student loans. They’re going to need Ms Abbot to do the sums on that one.
Corbyn was privately educated & now doesn’t want anyone to have the same advantage he had (and squandered) in life.

Anon

Labour won’t be doing any of this, they’re currently unelectable.

Wellbeing at the Bar

Why don’t they just give us the money??

Aden Express

Because you just don’t care enough.

I’m going to set up a website, logo and Twitter handle to ask everyone in the legal profession to donate a whole roll of toilet paper each to get other people to physically clean up the bs mess we’re in.

Come on everyone!! You can afford to spare a whole roll – won’t somebody please think of the children?!

I’m so humbled to be amongst so many kind and incredibly generous lawyers. This is what it’s all about.

Aren’t we just great???!

BINMAN

OH!

J…..JEREMY CORB…

…BIN!

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