Saturday, 11 August 2007

A Good Day for Bullies and the Unscrupulous as H&F Council Cuts Legal Support by 60%

The rule of law is one of the significant contributions that Britain has made to the World, ensuring that people from any background have the right to justice. The Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre has provided legal help to thousands of people - many the poorest in our community. They’ve taken on Rachman landlords, sweat-shop employers, bureaucratic intransigence, unscrupulous conmen and corporate bullies. And they’ve won. That legal protection is now under threat.

Since the time of Dickens, lawyers like them have fought the legal battles that have made our community fairer and stronger for us all. H&F Council provided funding to the Law Centre for 28 years under previous Labour and Conservative administrations. But, the current Tory regime has controversially decided to cut essential financial support to the Law Centre by 60%.

Dark days are ahead for those desperate for a legal safeguard. Yet when I have discussed this cut with the Tory councillors making the decision, I have been left thinking that they have no understanding of the consequences of their actions whatsoever. One na├»ve Tory frontbencher stood up in the Council Chamber to say that the cut to legal advice “didn’t matter” because they were still funding some other support services. Where did he think those support services were getting their legal advice from?

The matter is now before the High Court. The decision to reduce funding was made by H&F Tory Council with less than two weeks' notice and with no opportunity for representations to be made. If you want to support the fight to keep the Law Centre, you can donate to their cause online by clicking here. The lawyers who work at the HF Law Centre could easily earn much more money elsewhere. They choose not to and intend to fight the cut to the end. You can also sign their petition by clicking here.

The rule of law for all has been something the Law Centre has protected for a very long time. I believe that's important. It’s the British way.

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