Justice minister visits Willesden community organisation

Brent Community Law Centre staff

Brent Community Law Centre staff - Credit: Archant

Lord Tom McNally drops in at Brent Community Law Centre

Justice Minister Lord Tom McNally

Justice Minister Lord Tom McNally - Credit: Archant

A community organisation which offers free legal advice to vulnerable residents was the subject of a fact finding mission by a government minister.

Justice minister Lord Tom McNally visited Brent Community Law Centre, High Road, Willesden, to find out how the centre would be affected by the Legal Aid Reform Bill, which is expected to cut legal aid funding by £350 million.

In turn, the local authority will review the centre’s services after reducing its funding last year. A variety of free guidance currently offered at the centre, including family law and housing and employment advice, could be scrapped.

Law Centre co-ordinator Ian Kane said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to explain to a government minister the consequences of government policy for our clients.”

Lord McNally said: “I am particularly pleased to hear of Law Centres that are adapting to the realities of current funding and adopting a more collaborative approach with partner organisations.”

Mr Kane added: “We are looking at ways to divert some of our other funding so we can continue to provide a service in all our current areas of law when legal aid has gone.”

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A spokesman for Brent Council said no decision had been made on the centre’s funding as yet, he said: “This is still being reviewed and no change will happen until members have agreed the recommendations from the review.”