Lambeth Law Centre, in south London, has this afternoon issued the following statement:
“It is with great regret that the trustees of Lambeth Law Centre announce the closure of the Law Centre with immediate effect.
"Unfortunately, the Law Centre has faced financial pressures caused by legal aid cuts and increased operating costs. To some degree this was relieved with generous support from our charitable funders, who have understood the need in the community and helped us address it.
"However, ultimately the funding shortfall, together with issues with VAT calculations, have put the Law Centre in an impossible financial position. Having failed to secure emergency funding to keep the Law Centre going, we were left with no choice but to decide on closure.
"The Law Centre’s team is working hard to ensure that all current clients are notified and that their cases are transferred to other advisers in the borough or nearby. We also hope that some of our staff will be able to join other Law Centres or advice agencies.
"We would like to thank all of our staff, volunteers and supporters for all they have done over the years for the success of the Law Centre and the care for our clients."
The Law Centre had been serving the people of Lambeth since its establishment in 1981. At the time of its closure it had a diverse practice spanning debt, welfare benefits and community care, employment and discrimination, housing, immigration and public law.
It had also been collaborating with other organisations in and beyond Lambeth to tackle poverty and disadvantage. Recent initiatives have included dedicated support for EU nationals through Brexit, and public interest litigation through the Public Interest Law Centre.
As of today, 15 July, the Law Centre has ceased trading and will not be taking on new cases. Current clients will be notified and alternative arrangements put in place. As a discrete unit, the Public Interest Law Centre will transfer to a new host Law Centre, and a separate announcemnet will be made about this in due course.
Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, head of policy and profile at the Law Centres Network, said:
"Lambeth Law Centre has had a proud record of service to south Londoners priced out of justice. We are all very sad at its closure, which the Law Centres Network has worked hard to help it avoid. Its loss, due to adversity we all share, strengthens our movement's resolve to fight on for social justice for our communities."
For more details about this, please contact Pamela Judge, LCN communications manager, on 07999 512 823 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the LCN office on 020 3637 1330.