The Law Centres Network has celebrated the fortieth anniversary of its establishment with a national conference and reception in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Law Centres conference, titled 'Looking Forward at Forty', brought together member Law Centres along with colleagues from other countries and fellow travellers from around the UK and beyond. These have included speakers from Canada and the United States, covering a range of topics from strategic litigation through civil society to economic and cultural rights.
A key theme across the programme was bringing to bear the full breadth of Law Centres' capabilities in order to achieve social change: not only providing legal advice, but pursuing test cases to clarify and change the law; mobilising pro bono partnerships; and building a campaigning and advocacy movement for social justice.
The conference was welcomed to Newcastle by Lord Beecham, shadow justice spokesman in the House of Lords, and by Newcastle City Council deputy leader, Cllr Joyce McCarty, who hosted a reception for Law Centres at the city's Mansion House. Delegates also heard from one of the movement's co-founders, Peter Kandler, who is still involved in the Law Centre he helped set up nearly fifty years ago.
The Law Centres Working Group, as was then, was set up in 1978, just eight years after the establishment of the UK's first Law Centres. To this day, the small, nine-strong team, supports the work of Law Centres by developing their capacities, enhancing their resources, encouraging collaboration and serving as their collective national voice.
To find out more about LCN's impact over the past year and its plans for the coming year, have a look at our latest annual review, launched at the conference.