Everybody at Central England Law Centre would like to send their congratulations to Sue Bent, our former chief executive officer, whose hard work and dedication to the law and to the most vulnerable has been recognised in the 2024 King’s birthday honours list. 

Sue joined Coventry Law Centre in 2004, where she spent the next 18 years as chief executive officer before retiring in 2022. Under her stewardship, the law centre grew to become the largest in the country – despite austerity and cuts to legal aid - and is recognised locally, regionally and internationally for its innovation and impact supporting people in Birmingham and Coventry to understand their rights and access justice. 

Her list of achievements while at the law centre include expanding the law centre’s service to include a family law team focused on protecting survivors of domestic abuse; overseeing the law centre’s expansion to provide legal advice in Birmingham which was facing a legal advice desert; helping create the Young Migrant Rights project in partnership with Grapevine, the RIPPLE project which pioneered a new approach to Public Legal Education to enable groups of people to practically use the law to solve shared issues; and tirelessly championing the next generation of social welfare lawyers, including securing long-term partnerships with several local universities to nurture future talent. 

Recognition for Sue’s incredible contribution and dedication to the law and to vulnerable people in Coventry and Birmingham 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 and we will continue to ensure legal rights and access to justice is available for everybody for many years to come. 

Elayne Hill, chief executive officer, Central England law Centre