LEF supports Law Centres

LEF supports Law Centres

The Law Centres Network

The Law Centres Network (LCN) strives for a just and equal society where everyone’s rights are valued and protected. We do this by supporting a national network of over fifty Law Centres in England and Wales that work with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society.

LCN is the national voice of Law Centres and their clients, representing them at all levels of government and in various national forums. We support our member Law Centres with practical help and advice, training and fundraising, initiating new services and championing the model of free, independent legal advice and representation.

LCN is a registered charity and is run by a small staff team answerable to a board of trustees drawn mostly from our member Law Centres.

More than the sum of its parts

While Law Centres are independent, they are committed to working collaboratively to share their expertise and resources, identify trends and co-ordinate responses. LCN is the vehicle that allows this to happen and to make sure the national network is more than the sum of its parts.


  • arranges regular meetings, training workshops and conferences
  • produces a weekly e-bulletin for Law Centres and provides telephone conferencing facilities
  • ensures that Law Centres get the most from their scarce resources by arranging bulk deals for purchasing insurance, legal resources etc. at reduced cost
  • provides practical support and consultancy to Law Centres with attracting new funding, public relations, meeting funders’ requirements and developing new services
  • gathers information from Law Centres to feed into national policy making

Law Centres may share staff or run joint services, such as Bradford and Leeds Law Centres’ new housing advice service. They also work together on test cases.

Membership of LCN ensures that Law Centres are committed to shared values and a code of practice.

Case study – LCN’s Protocols Project

In response to evidence from Law Centres and media stories of 16-17 year olds being forced to live in tents and caves despite an important court case that established their rights, LCN’s Young People’s Programme is working with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP to review  Local Authority protocols to see if they are in line with statutory guidance about young people.

We found that many protocols do not adequately guarantee that the correct processes are being followed to ensure that 16 and 17 year old homeless young people are provided with the support they are entitled to.

We will be using our findings to work with Local Authorities, other stakeholders and young people themselves to promote good practice and ensure that Local Authorities respond more effectively to the needs of homeless young people.

What Law Centres do

Law Centres are community-based, not-for-profit legal practices. Since the 1970s they have been offering free, quality assured legal advice, casework and representation in social welfare law to individuals and groups.

Social welfare problems, such as debt, employment, housing or welfare benefits can affect anyone. If left unresolved they can have serious consequences, stressful for the client and expensive for the taxpayer.

Who Law Centres help

Of Law Centres’ clients

  • 53% are women
  • 79.5% have a non-white ethnic background
  • 99.5% earn less than £25,000
  • 62% earn less than £15,000
  • They have a highly than national average rate of living with disability
  • They have low educational attainment
  • They have low levels of literacy
  • Higher than national average of people under 25
  • Many have mental health and substance abuse problems

Contact us

Law Centres Network, 64 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3QR

Tel. 020 7749 9120

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