Launch of Suffolk Law Centre brings better access to legal advice

Suffolk Law Centre has officially opened in St Matthews Street in Ipswich. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Suffolk Law Centre has officially opened in St Matthews Street in Ipswich. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Law Centre has officially opened in Ipswich – offering legal advice to the county’s residents who cannot afford it.

MP Sandy Martin officially opened the centre along with with Chairman Hamil Clarke . Picture: ADAM H

MP Sandy Martin officially opened the centre along with with Chairman Hamil Clarke . Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

The law centre, which is part of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), was opened yesterday by Ipswich MP Sandy Martin at its headquarters in St Matthews Street.

The organisation’s director Audrey Ludwig, said the centre would enhance the services ISCRE provided.

“We are launching the law centre to bring access to justice in Suffolk,” she said.

“For many years Suffolk has been an advice desert so we have no housing legal aid lawyer in Suffolk, so if someone is facing eviction they have to go to court themselves.

“We are hoping to fund and recruit a specialist housing legal advisor.

“We are also hoping with others to take the legal advice out into the rural villages.

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“Also to set up a help desk at the family day at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court to assist people to remain in contact with their children.

“We will continue the services that ISCRE has been doing for the last decade and will continue to maintain ISCRE’s ethos of equal access to justice and consultation in the community.

“This is an enhancement of the services we offer.

“It is designed to make Suffolk a better place to live in.”

Chairman Hamil Clarke added: “This is a project which has been a long time coming.

“One of the things we found before was that we had to turn people away because we just didn’t have the expertise for these cases, especially housing.

“But this will help people access legal aid and make life easier for people in Suffolk as a whole.

“Today is a very exciting day.”

Sandy Martin said: “After the NHS started in 1948 people have grown up assuming they will get the heath care they need when they need it.

“Surely you should be getting justice when you need it, too.

“It should not be something just for those who can afford it.

“I’m sure the law centre will progress by leaps and bounds and I hope it will be able to increase the range of services being provided and increase the number of people they can help.

“I think it will be a beacon for our town and for Suffolk.”

For more information about Suffolk Law Centre visit www.iscre.org.uk