Suffolk is a beautiful green rural county, but it is also an advice desert with hidden areas of deprivation and poor infrastructure. We are one of the few counties with no local housing legal aid lawyer. This has created a uniquely difficult challenge for those concerned about access to justice to Suffolk, but one that we at Ipswich and Suffolk Racial Equality Council (ISCRE) has been keen to take on. The legal services offered by ISCRE for over 10 years already includes a thriving Advice Clinic in the LawWorks network, with over 70 Suffolk lawyers providing pro bono advice. A new Suffolk Law Centre Steering Group, with a development grant from the Legal Education Foundation has been created to launch a new Suffolk Law Centre in December 2017. It will focus on providing specialist legal advice, casework and representation, and promoting awareness of rights.
As well as bidding for legal aid contracts in housing and immigration, the new Law Centre will seek additional funding, so they can recruit the best lawyers to Suffolk. Our group, comprising representatives from private practice, Citizens Advice, academia and the community are rising to their unique Suffolk challenges, with innovation and a fierce commitment. It will mean a lot of hard work, but we know it will be worth it to help many more people in Suffolk get the access to justice they need.
If you would like more information please visit the Ipswich and Suffolk Racial Equality Council website.