Birmingham Law Centre announces closure

Birmingham Law Centre - HomeI’ve just heard from Pete Lowen — who with his team has tried just about everything to maintain free legal aid services for Birmingham’s citizens — that Birmingham Law Centre has closed. The announcement was made on Tuesday 25th June 2013.

Cashflow difficulties along with cuts in legal aid funding finally made it impossible for the centre to continue.

The centre’s five solicitors and fifteen paralegal staff had been assisting around 2,000 clients a year but had been struggling in the current legal funding environment for months, narrowly avoiding closure just before Christmas last year. The centre, which was descended from a series of organisations that have provided free legal services over decades in Birmingham, could trace its roots back almost 100 years.

This is sad news for Birmingham, sad news for people needing access to free legal services, and sad news for the law centre movement.

Back in February Pete said that the Law Centre was grateful to “everyone in the legal sector for their magnificent support in our fight for survival. We have had messages of support from solicitors, judges and others. We will continue to talk to anyone willing to help.” Sadly, neither the messages of support nor the funding talks with various parties were able to save the centre.

The story is covered here (Law Society Gazette) and here (Law Centres Network).

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website
  1. Sajda Reply

    I am absolutely disgusted to hear of the closure of The Law Centre. It was an absolute lifeline to people like myself, who have been lucky enough to use its service. I would like to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to Sandra Kane- one of the solicitors who worked at the centre and helped me immensely.
    ” Thank you so much Sandra- you’re a star. Without your help, I would not be where I am today. I am really very upset that the centre has closed. I would like to wish you the very best for the future. Once again- thank you so much for your help. Take care and God Bless.
    Sajda.

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