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Appendix 1: Law Centre (NI)

Law Centre (NI) aims to promote social justice and reduce social inequality through the provision of a high quality legal resource offering independent, specialist and focused support to members, other advocates and disadvantaged individuals. We deliver specialist legal services to members in the areas of community care, employment, housing, immigration and social security and support the work of advice agencies through advice, casework, training, information and publications.

The Law Centre aims to work closely with our membership of independent advice giving agencies and associate members who include social services and probation offices, solicitors’ practices, trade unions and community based organisations. We seek to promote the work of local, regional and specialist independent advice in partnership with Advice NI and Citizens Advice Northern Ireland.

1. Our main activities

    • An advice line open to members, Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 1.00pm in our Belfast and Derry offices.
    • A casework and representation service including strategic court work provided on referral from members.
    • More information on our casework here: www.lawcentreni.org/casework/casework.html

  • Training courses aimed at both experienced and new advisers. More information on courses: www.lawcentreni.org/training/courses.html
  • The publication of Frontline magazine four times a year, an annually updated Encyclopedia of Rights and regular bulletins on changes to law and policy. Access our publications here: www.lawcentreni.org/publications/publications.html
  • The production of informed policy comment on changes to public policy and legislation.  A social policy unit was established in August 2006 to develop this area. Read our briefings and consultation responses here: www.lawcentreni.org/policy/policy-news.html
  • Practioner meetings in social security, community care and immigration to bring together advisers to discuss legal issues and practitioner developments. Dates of practitioner meetings are here: www.lawcentreni.org/events/events.html
  • A Legal Support Project that provides volunteer representation in social security and employment cases that would otherwise go unrepresented. More information on LSP here: www.lawcentreni.org/lsp.html


2. Areas of work

Social security: advice on social security law and representation before the Social Security Commissioners and legally complex social security appeal tribunals.

Employment:advice on employment law and representation before Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunals.

Immigration: advice on immigration law, assistance with asylum and other complex applications to the Home Office, representation before the Asylum and Immigration Appeal Tribunal.

Community care: advice on legal issues surrounding provision of social services, facilities or accommodation, and representation in legal disputes in this area.

Mental health: advice on mental health law and representation before the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Northern Ireland.

The Law Centre provides representation in court matters arising from all of its core subjects.

3. Law Centre (NI) membership

  • Full membership is open to voluntary sector organisations providing an impartial and free advice  service, who meet specific criteria.  Full members elect the executive committee who determine Law Centre policy.
  • Associate membership (comprehensive or standard) is open to other organisations or individuals who wish to make use of Law Centre services or keep up to date with and support the work of the Law Centre.

Members and comprehensive associate members receive access to Law Centre advice, casework and training services, notification of Law Centre events and complimentary copies of all Law Centre publications.  Standard associate members receive notification of Law Centre events and complimentary copies of selected publications. All members receive our monthly enewsletter.

Become a memberwww.lawcentreni.org/about-us/membership.html

More information is available on our website: www.lawcentreni.org

Follow us on Twitter: @LawCentreNI