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Tuesday, 18th June 2024

Retired Law Centre leader awarded OBE

The former chief executive officer of Central England Law Centre, Sue Bent, has been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours List for the major contribution she has made to the law and to vulnerable people in her role leading the Law Centre, which is based in Coventry and Birmingham.

Bent joined Coventry Law Centre in 2004, where she spent the next eighteen years as chief executive officer before retiring in 2022. Under her stewardship, the Law Centre grew to become the largest in the country and is recognised locally, regionally and internationally for its innovation and impact supporting people in Birmingham and Coventry to understand their rights and to access justice. 

Sue Bent said:

“It was the greatest privilege of my life to lead Central England Law Centre for eighteen years… but this is an award for the Law Centre. None of it would have been possible without the tireless work of the solicitors, caseworkers, admin staff and everybody else who works and volunteers for the organisation; the bravery and determination of the clients; and the trust and commitment of all the Law Centre’s partners and funders who put rights at the heart of their work.”   

Elayne Hill, chief executive officer at Central England law Centre, said:

“Recognition for Sue’s incredible contribution is richly deserved.  Her legacy at the Law Centre has enabled us to help thousands of people across Birmingham and Coventry to save their homes, keep their jobs, protect their families and much, much more. We will continue to provide access to justice and uphold the legal rights of our community for many years to come.” 

In 2012, Bent expanded the Law Centre's services to include a family law team focused on protecting survivors of domestic abuse. The following year, she oversaw the expansion of Coventry Law Centre to Birmingham, which had just lost its remaining Law Centre. In 2018, Bent built long-term partnerships with several local universities, including Coventry University, Warwick University and Birmingham City University to nurture future talent and support the next generation of social welfare lawyers. 

Bent holds a BSc in Pure Mathematics from the University of Warwick. Before joining the Law Centre in 2004 she spent the first sixteen years of her career at Coventry City Council, including six years as Head of Housing & Neighbourhood Services, before moving to the Heart of England Housing Group where she took on the role of Operations Director. 

For media enquiries, please contact media@lawcentres.org.uk.

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