Erith law centre ‘faces struggle’ if government cash is cut

10:53 23 February 2012

l to r Kathy Smith CEO, Dee Bahan, Ellen Edwards, Jocelyn Erskine-Kelly, Stephen Young, Sheila Nelson-Durrant, Patrick McNamee

l to r Kathy Smith CEO, Dee Bahan, Ellen Edwards, Jocelyn Erskine-Kelly, Stephen Young, Sheila Nelson-Durrant, Patrick McNamee

Archant

A free legal advice centre in Erith will be under threat if legal aid is cut according to the owners

A free advice service to thousands is ­under threat due to the government’s planned ­legal aid reforms.

Cross Street Law Centre in Erith offers free legal advice to approximately 6,000 residents a year in areas such as employment, housing, debt, discrimination and benefits.

According to the centre, 50 per cent of income comes from legal aid and it claims it will struggle to continue helping people if funding is cut.

Chief executive officer of the centre Kathy Smith is ­critical of the planned Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which is ­being debated by the House of Lords and could see an end to the system.

She said: “We face the ­prospect of the end of legal aid in 2013 which would deprive ­access to justice for a lot of people.”

Miss Smith also tried to ­dispel some myths about who is entitled to legal aid.

She added: “Legal aid is available to people on benefits or those working who are on low ­income – it is a not just for people on benefits.”

The centre believes that if the law is passed there will be no equality in the law and rich people will have an ­advantage.

The right to free legal ­advice for many people in Bexley and the surrounding areas will be removed.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “At more than £2.1billion a year, we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world which in the current economic climate we just ­cannot afford.

“Our measures target legal aid at the people who need support the most.

“Taxpayers therefore know their money is really helping people, and is not fuelling ­unnecessary ­legal action.”

The centre started as an outreach project linked to Plumstead Community Law Centre in 2000.

It became independent in a move to Thamesmead in 2007 and has occupied its current premises in Erith since 2008.

Latest Stories

12:32
The cyclist's helmet camera captured the sickening moment that a car slammed into him [Picture from Youtube]

A cyclist was hit by a car in Romford, slammed into the windscreen and miraculously landed on his feet - and caught the whole thing on his helmet cam.

Read more
11:22
The trio lured their victim to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A woman lured her fiancé to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath before beating him to near death with the help of two other men so they could steal £200 from him.

Read more
A million passengers are expected to fly out from London airports this weekend (Picture via Getty Images)

Expect travel chaos this weekend as almost one million Londoners are expected to fly out from the capital, with roads and railways also expected to be jam-packed as the summer getaway begins.

Read more

TOP Stories

12:32
The cyclist's helmet camera captured the sickening moment that a car slammed into him [Picture from Youtube]

A cyclist was hit by a car in Romford, slammed into the windscreen and miraculously landed on his feet - and caught the whole thing on his helmet cam.

11:22
The trio lured their victim to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A woman lured her fiancé to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath before beating him to near death with the help of two other men so they could steal £200 from him.

A million passengers are expected to fly out from London airports this weekend (Picture via Getty Images)

Expect travel chaos this weekend as almost one million Londoners are expected to fly out from the capital, with roads and railways also expected to be jam-packed as the summer getaway begins.

Three unconnected attacks occurred at Green Park Tube. [Picture courtesy of Sunil060902 and Wikimedia Commons]

London’s Tubes and trains are now a little safer after police arrested 13 people for sexual offences last week – including three men accused of filming up women’s skirts.

Frank Dobson is set to quit to quit as an MP for Holborn and St Pancras at the next election (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Frank Dobson, the veteran Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, has confirmed he is quitting politics at the 2015 general election.

David was a DJ in the Soca scene in north London (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A fresh appeal has been launched to find out the ‘horrifying circumstances’ which led to a part-time bus driver and DJ’s badly burned body being found under a railway arch in north London four years ago.

Yesterday, 15:13
The cyclist was killed by a lorry in Richmond (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

A cyclist who died from injuries sustained in a crash with a bin lorry in Richmond during rush-hour has been named as 40-year-old Henry Lang from the Twickenham area.

Promotions

Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

The Week subscription offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more
Guess the manager quiz. Here's a hint, it's not these four.

The managerial merry-go-round spins quickly these days so do you think you’ve got the knowledge to recognise the faces of all these football bosses?

Read more
A normal day at London Liverpool Street station

This quiz is for people who think they know the Tube and rail inside out.

Read more