Monday, 1 July 2013

Birmingham Law Centre announces closure

From the Law Society Gazette
Monday 01 July 2013 by Catherine Baksi

Britain’s second city is without a law centre following the closure of Birmingham Law Centre last week.

Cashflow problems and the anticipated fall in legal aid funding led the trustees to shut down the service, which is descended from bodies that have offered free legal advice for nearly a century.

The centre’s five solicitors, and 15 paralegal and support staff helped around 2,000 clients a year. But the centre, which receives no local authority funding, has been struggling financially for months and only narrowly avoided closure last Christmas.

A statement from the trustees said: ‘With regret the trustees of Birmingham Law Centre had to take the difficult decision to close the law centre due to irreconcilable cashflow problems. The trustees wish to thank all the law centre staff and volunteers for their dedication and hard work.’

The trustees reassured clients that their cases are being transferred to other local organisations.

Director of the Law Centres Network Julie Bishop said she hoped the network would be able to ‘rebuild’ something in Birmingham, but the priority is to ensure the centre’s clients are getting the help they need.

She added: ‘We’ve been preparing for the drop in legal aid cases for the last couple of years and we hope that most law centres will weather it.’

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