Friday, 10 November 2017

Law as a tool for social change & justice: UK Law Centres Network 2017 annual conference

The annual conference of the UK Law Centres Network (LCN) took place for this first time in Glasgow this week, with representatives from law centres from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland in attendance.

Conference was opened by Scottish Minister for Legal Affairs and Communities, Annabelle Ewing MSP, who also read a personal welcome note to delegates from Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

Delegates were welcomed to a Civic Reception in Glasgow City Council by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Susan Aitken, and Depute Lord Provost, Cllr Philip Braat; and heard from the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Gordon Jackson Q.C. and former President of the Law Society of Scotland, Austin Lafferty.

The two-day event took place over 9 and 10 November 2017, and included a wide ranging plenary discussion on the law as a tool for social change. Conference heard from Matthew Smerdon, Chief Executive of the Legal Education Foundation, and Annabel Davidson Knight of Collaborate and the University of Newcastle.

GLC's Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly addressing conference argued that unemployment, poverty, discrimination, poor housing and destitution were never accidental. They were the product of political choices, and the politics of omission.  In his view it was the job of law centres to campaign for change, and until change happened, use the law as best as possible to mitigate detriment to the communities law centres served.  Mike's speech to the LCN conference is available here (opens as a PDF)

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