Leeds Law Centre shuts doors after 30 years of support

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Harehills and Chapeltown Law Centre has closed after more than 30 years of supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable people on low incomes.

Public service cuts to legal aid funding has been blamed for the shock move.

The Leeds Law Centre, as it is also known, shut its doors on November 7.

Based on Roundhay Road, the centre has provided a free expert legal advice service to Leeds residents since 1983, offering specialist legal advice and representation in debt, employment, family, housing, immigration, mental health and welfare benefits.

Julie Bishop, director of the Law Centres Network, said: “Leeds Law Centre has been a longstanding resource for disadvantaged people, offering them free and independent legal advice when needed most. Its closure is a sad loss to the Law Centres movement and the people of Leeds.”

Councillor Roger Harington, (Lab, Gipton and Harehills) said: “The Law Centre has provided a very important service for some of the most vulnerable people. So now that it’s closing, we have to find another way to continue the service. I know efforts are already being made to do this.”

A Law Centre spokesman said: “Cuts to public services have made it difficult for our skilled and dedicated team to continue operating. We are sad and disappointed that the closure leaves people on low or no income in Leeds without an important specialist and local support service.”

The Law Centre will operate a managed closure programme and contact current clients directly and write to each client to advise and assist them in the referral of their case to other agencies.

Staff had numbered 22 but had been cut down to just eight. It is understood remaining staff have been offered redundancy. Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you