Expansion plans announced for Suffolk Law Centre following successful launch
- Credit: IPSWICH AND SUFFOLK COUNCIL FOR RACIAL EQUALITY
The opening of a new legal advice hub in Suffolk has been so successful that leaders have already set their sights on expansion.
Set up thanks to a massive fundraising drive, Suffolk Law Centre (SLC) launched in Ipswich’s St Matthews’ Street on April 1 and offers free guidance and casework for those who cannot afford fees.
Co-located with Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), the facility has already helped dozens of people tackle their legal challenges, especially in the areas of family, employment and immigration law.
Audrey Ludwig, legal director at ISCRE, said: “It’s clear that from day one the SLC is starting to meet the needs of a wide range of people who would otherwise be without any legal guidance and support.”
As part of this initiative, a support service has been established every Wednesday at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court for first hearings in the family court.
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Non-practising barrister, Carole Parry Jones, oversees a small team who, while unable to give specific advice, provide information about what to expect during the proceedings.
The pilot project is made possible by funding from the Litigants in Person Support Strategy.
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Bosses behind SLC are now hoping to further expand by recruiting a legal aid housing lawyer to manage housing casework and work with partners to develop a service specifically for young people.
They are also in early discussions with the Coffee Caravan to establish a mobile service, helping people in rural Suffolk villages get access to justice.
“We are determined to ensure that no part of Suffolk is a legal aid desert and our rollout plans should help more qualifying people, of all ages and from every compass point of the county have better access to justice than before,” added Mrs Ludwig.
This year’s Ipswich Legal Walk in association with Eastern Legal Support Trust which will raise funds for SLC.
The 10km will take place on Monday, June 25 and will pass through Christchurch and Alexandra parks.
New Ipswich mayor Jane Riley will be taking part alongside teams from local law firms including Birketts, Prettys, Kerseys.
Judge Martyn Levett has joined the SLC team, and is, once again, the lead walker.
To get involved or to sponsor the SLC team, contact Sue Wardell on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01473 408111, or visit www.elst.org.uk/ipswich-legal-walk