Fellow: Ruth Mercer

Southwark Law Centre

SLC was founded in 1976. We provide high quality, specialist legal advice and representation in the areas of discrimination, employment, housing, public law, welfare rights, and asylum/Immigration law to those who could not afford to pay. Each year we take on around 800 cases requiring specialist help and representation.

Our teams:

Immigration: we have 5 solicitors working in the immigration team. We have projects supporting women who have been victims of trafficking or violence, destitute families, and young people.

Housing: we have 4 solicitors and 1 experienced caseworker in the housing team. We coordinate the Southwark Homeless forum and the London wide Housing and Immigration Group.

Welfare Rights: we have 3 experienced caseworkers and have been leading on work around Universal Credit issues.

Employment: we have 1 part time caseworker

The caseworkers are supported by an administrative team of 3.

Our funding is a mixture of earned Legal Aid income, charitable grants and a contract with Southwark Council. We hold Legal Aid contracts in the areas of housing, immigration and asylum and public law.

The majority of people we support are from Southwark, but we also take on cases from other South London Boroughs such as Lewisham and Bexley which do not have a Law Centre. Our constitution enables us to take appropriate cases from across Greater London.

We prioritise cases which involve the prevention of homelessness, destitution, discrimination, breaches of Human Rights and poverty and support more generalist advice agencies by taking over cases that they are unable to continue due to regulatory restrictions, such as higher courts litigation. All of our clients are living in poverty, many of them are destitute. None can afford to pay for legal advice.

We have, through casework, training and research, gained a high level of knowledge of the effects of laws, policies and practices which cause poverty and/or infringe Human Rights and use that knowledge strategically in the choice of cases we take on.

For further information, visit our website.

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Registered charity 271297 (England/Wales)