Hull needs a law centre

Hull North MP Diana Johnson has called for a replacement for the former Humberside Law Centre, which was closed earlier this year due to cuts by three councils surrounding Hull.

Although Labour-controlled Hull City Council was willing to continue funding Humberside Law Centre, the withdrawal of funding by three other local authorities - in the East Riding, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire - meant that the Law Centre closed in March 2005, after 15 years of service.

In this time the Centre, its main office based in Alfred Gelder Street in Hull, had dealt with many employment, housing, consumer, immigration and welfare cases for local people, including winning a landmark legal case in 1994 that secured compensation for sacked Hull trawlermen.

The Hull North MP's call follow's her intervention in a Commons debate last Friday (14 October) on a Private Members Bill, sponsored by Bradford West MP Marsha Singh.

Diana Johnson MP said: "People who are not wealthy often need the services of law centres to get professional legal advice, and sometimes to represent their case, when they suffer injustice or discrimination in areas such as employment or housing.

"Due to a withdrawal of funding by three Tory-run local authorities around Hull that were its joint funders, Humberside Law Centre closed earlier this year. I will work with Hull City Council to explore ways of restoring this resource locally. Otherwise, despite all the excellent work that bodies such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau and trade unions do, the concept of equality before the law will be more theory than reality for Hull people."