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A LABOUR government would deliver a “golden era of Law Centres” to help ensure that “justice serves the people, not just a privileged few.”
The landmark policy will be pledged on Sunday at Labour conference by the party’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, who spent a decade as a trade union lawyer before entering Parliament.
Ahead of his speech Mr Burgon told reporters: “The Tories have deliberately undermined people’s ability to get the legal help they often desperately need.
“That has allowed lousy landlords, bullying bosses and even the government itself to trample on people’s rights for far too long.
“When people lack the money or the knowledge to enforce their rights, those rights are not worth the paper they are written on.
He promised: “We will put an end to that and ensure that justice serves the people, not just a privileged few.
Under Mr Burgon’s plans Labour will provide free legal training for 200 community lawyers over a single parliament.
He will also announce a £20 million fund to create a new network of People’s Law Centres, where people can get legal support on housing, debt, immigration, discrimination and other key legal support.
Law centres have been decimated by Tory cuts to legal aid, with the number of organisations falling from 94 in 2013 to 47 this year.
Solicitor Paul Heron welcomed the announcement, telling the Star: “As one of the founders of the Public Interest Law Centre, which has been established to allow working-class people and campaigns to challenge local and national government decisions, Labour’s promise would massively help our ability to help more people and provide genuine access to justice.”
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