Law Centres have existed since the early 1970s and work within their communities to defend the legal rights of local people. Specialising in social welfare law, they have an in-depth knowledge of the issues communities face. They use this knowledge to help people save their homes, keep their jobs and protect their families.
Law Centres offer legal advice, casework and representation to individuals and groups. Spotting local trends and issues in the course of their work, they highlight them to bring about necessary policy changes and to prevent future problems. Law Centres also help build capacity within local communities by training and supporting local groups and educating people about the law and their rights.
All Law Centres are independent and operate on a not-for-profit basis. They are also accountable to their communities, with local people acting on their management committees.
Above all, they exist to improve the daily lives of the communities they work in.
To see how we assess the value of our work, click here to go to the dedicated page.
Find out more about our history
To read more about the Law Centre idea and how it was brought to the UK and applied here, click here to read (or watch) Michael Zander's first-hand account.
To find out about the first decades of the Law Centres movement, and how the Law Centres Network developed alongside its members, click here for a brief overview of the first thirty years.
Of course, there is so much more to our history than that.
The Law Centres Network is now involved in a large research project into the history of radical lawyering in Law Centres. The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will be led by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford.
Over four years, it will collect oral histories from past and present Law Centre lawyers, reflecting on the innovative ways of lawyering and new legal specialisms developed in Law Centres. These oral histories will be coupled with Law Centre papers and publications from our fifty-year history, and will be added to the national collections at the British Library. This will place our movement and its contribution firmly within the national story, where it belongs.