Legal Status

Central England Law Centre is a registered charity, registered with the Charity Commission No 1087312 and a company limited by guarantee, registered with Companies House No 4149673.

Central England Law Centre operates from two main offices, one in Coventry, known as Coventry Law Centre and one in Birmingham, known as Birmingham Community Law Centre. We employ solicitors and caseworkers who provide legal advice and representation on social welfare law.  Law Centres are able to employ solicitors to carry out reserved legal activities as ‘Special Bodies’ under the Legal Services Act 2007.  This is a unique category of agencies who, broadly, are able to deliver free services and have a solicitors practice.

Governance

The directors of the company are also known as trustees for the purposes of charity law. All trustees give their time voluntarily and receive no benefits from the Charity. Central England Law Centre has a Board of trustees who meet regularly and has fiduciary responsibility for the governance of the Law Centre; plan the strategic direction, and shape its broad policies.  The Trustees are also required to ensure that the Law Centre’s accounts are independently audited and filed with the Charities Commission and Companies House by the end of each financial year. The Company Secretary and Chief Executive attend all meetings of the Board but are not a member of it.

Organisational structure

Responsibility for the provision of services and for the delivery of the business plan is delegated to the Chief Executive. The Law Centre’s operations are guided by policies approved by the trustees to provide a framework for the day to day running of all aspects of the organisation.

We are an active member of the Law Centres Network the national voice of Law Centres and their clients, representing them at all levels of government and in various national forums.

Regulation

The solicitors employed within the Law Centre are required to comply with their regulatory obligations and in particular the Solicitors Code of Conduct; Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Practice Framework rules 2011 and SRA Handbook.  All Law Centres are also required to employ a solicitor who is qualified to supervise under the SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011.  In the case of Central England Law Centre the Head of Legal Practice is employed to fulfil this role. 

Our Immigration work is also regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner and we are registered with them to provide immigration advice. We hold the Specialist Quality Mark for our legal aid work and we also employ accredited Family Law Advance Panel members. 

Our debt advice is regulated is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our debt advisor is a  member of the Institute of Money Advice and the Money Advice Trust.