Why pro bono legal work matters and how it makes a difference in our communities
Without centres like the EGLAC which are run by volunteers and offer free advice to those most in need, far too many people would have no access to legal assistance.
All of us at Nexa were inspired by Emma’s talk about the EGLAC and through the work of our ESG Lead, Cathy Oh, hope to be able to support it further in the future.
Why do we need free law centres?
The Access to Justice Foundation estimates that there are 14 million people living in poverty who cannot afford a lawyer. For the most vulnerable in society, a lack of access to legal advice often means problems escalate – a housing dispute can turn into homelessness leading to unemployment and potentially ill-health.
Legal aid assistance provided by the government has been diminishing – the budget is currently £950 million less than it was in 2010 – so there is a big gap to fill and demand is high. The EGLAC received 140 enquiries in the last 8 weeks and is currently booking appointments for 2-3 months’ time.
How does the EGLAC work?
The assistance offered by the EGLAC is normally limited to giving initial legal advice, which may be delivered face-to-face or remotely. Volunteer lawyers are asked to give an hour of their time, which isn’t very much but can make a huge difference, as one volunteer at EGLAC commented:
“Such a privilege to give a helping hand to those who need it most. An hour of my time is nothing compared to the information and support that it can provide. And the gratitude from our clients is often overwhelming”
Centres like the EGLAC all around the country do vital work, we are lucky to have them and need to help where we can to ensure their continued existence. By giving time and expertise, lawyers of all types can contribute in a small way and help ensure access to justice is not denied to those who need it most.
Nexa would like to thank Emma and our ESG Lead, Cathy Oh, for inspiring all of us at Nexa about the EGLAC and giving Nexa’s solicitors the chance to contribute.
–Nigel Clark, CEO