2 June 2023 - Central England Law Centre (CELC) this week welcomed Attorney General, Victoria Prentis, to its offices in Coventry just one week after welcoming Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry to its office.

The Attorney General, who is the head of the UK Government Legal Department, the chief legal adviser to the government, and the chief law officer in England and Wales, visited the Law Centre's office in St Patrick's Road on 1st June where she met with chief executive, Elayne Hill, and other members of the law centre's team as part of her regional tour of the Midlands. The visit with Emily Thornberry took place on 16th May as part of the Shadow Attorney General's efforts to understand more about the work of the law centre and the importance of social welfare law in helping people access their rights.

Both politicians heard first-find how law centre staff are supporting thousands of disadvantaged people access justice in Birmingham and Coventry. Founded in 1976, CELC provides free specialist legal advice to people in Coventry and Birmingham, and partners with local organisations on campaigns to reduce poverty, inequality and discrimination. CELC holds legal aid contracts in seven areas of social welfare law and in 2021/22,  it helped 5,831 people by giving them specialist legal advice to help them resolve their legal problem and responded to over 8,000 enquiries for legal advice from people, including taking on 1,942 new legal cases for people, spending many hours with clients working through complex problemsThis included CELC helped 897 people receive providing people with housing advice to help them keep their homes, representing 500 people at welfare benefits tribunals with an 89% success rate, and protecting 80 women from their abusive partners through non-molestation orders.  

Attorney General Victoria Prentis KC MP said: 

“It is fundamental that everybody has equal access to justice. From helping women who have suffered domestic abuse and violence, to securing additional services for people with health needs, the Central England Law Centre delivers vital services to thousands of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. 

“I was thoroughly impressed with the work the law centre is doing and I will be sharing what I saw with my colleagues in Government.” 

Elayne Hill, chief executive officer, Central England Law Centre, said: 

We were pleased to welcome Victoria Prentis and her colleagues to see the vital work of the Law CentreWe believe that access to justice and a well-functioning legal aid system is fundamental to ensure that good quality advice and representation is available to all who need itHaving rights embedded within communities is essential for a well-functioning society which prevents legal issues related to the law of everyday life escalating into crisis and which seeks to address the issues that affect those who live in poverty and who are often the most disadvantaged within our society.