The valuable contribution made by local solicitors volunteering at the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) has been recognised by one of the charity’s bosses.
A number of Gotelee’s lawyers give up their time to help those seeking help from ISCRE, which oversees the pro-bono Suffolk Law Advice Centre.
The charity also specialises in discrimination law through its Tackling Discrimination in the East service, providing advice on unlawful discrimination in employment, and accessing goods and services such as education, housing, and leisure.
Speaking to Solicitors Journal, Audrey Ludwig, ISCRE’s Director of Legal Services, was unwavering in her support for the volunteering lawyers who have helped the charity, highlighting the example of the creation of a family law form-filling clinic, an ad-hoc service to help people with certain types of family law processes.
“We try to achieve an awful lot with the resources we’ve got,” she said. “We’re in a difficult environment but we’re not giving up.”
Ludwig hailed those lawyers who had ‘stepped-up’ following the removal of funding but added: “The idea that you can rely on volunteers who may only come in every couple of weeks because that’s all the time they can offer is fanciful. Lawyers are doing as much as they can reasonably be expected to do and what is needed is government funded legal advice and representation.”
ISCRE is also the East Anglian partner for the Living Rights Project, a two-year EU-funded initiative that commenced in December 2015, which makes EU migrants aware of their legal rights.
“Since Brexit, we’ve been inundated with queries around permanent residency by EU citizens who live in Suffolk,’ says Ludwig. ‘Those issues are going to magnify in the next couple of years and if there isn’t a service to provide, that won’t solve the problem, it will just push it somewhere else.”