Grenfell fire response

The team at North Kensington Law Centre provides an update on the response to the Grenfell fire.

After the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June it was clear that North Kensington Law Centre (NKLC) – less than 300m from the Tower – would be inundated with requests for help from local residents as soon as it reopened on Monday 19 June.

NKLC needed to rapidly scale up infrastructure and specialist resources, but had limited capacity to coordinate this. By 16 June, firms involved in the UK Collaborative Plan for Pro Bono initiative had placed pro bono manager expertise at the Centre to assist.

The pro bono managers ensured a constant presence of volunteer "support" lawyers at NKLC from the moment it reopened, with volunteers drawn from city firms including LawWorks members. These lawyers took on general tasks at the Centre, freeing up specialist staff to focus on the needs of those affected by the fire.

Coordinated support allowed an initial housing rota, coordinated via Shelter and Housing Law Practioners Association (HLPA), to become a long-term rota supplemented by housing advisers from multiple Law Centres. The database donated to assist with this also allows NKLC to call on Law Centre and Immigration Law Practioners Association (ILPA) immigration specialists, welfare benefits specialists and employment specialists where needed.

Although the initial crisis response focused on housing advice, additional legal needs have emerged including wills, probate and insurance queries – together with wider legal needs for advice organisations in the surrounding area.

LawWorks has worked in partnership with these organisations and the UK Collaborative Plan pro bono managers to approach members with specific expertise as it has been requested - this will continue in the coming weeks and months ahead.



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