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New Manager for HCLC!


Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) has a new pair of hands directing its activities in representing the poor and marginalised of Hackney.


Sean Canning (pictured above middle), takes over from current manager Matt Howgate (pictured above right) at a crucial time as the law centre continues to lead the fight against swingeing legal aid cuts.


Mr Canning has been manager of the North Kensington Law Centre, the UK's longest running law centre, for eight years, and is particularly experienced with administrative and financial matters.


Welcoming Sean Canning’s appointment, Ian Rathbone, Chair of the Law Centre said: "Sean will bring a cutting edge to our work of making sure that everyone has access to justice, not just those well off with funds to pay, and I am looking forward to continuing and expanding our work with his expert help." "In the last three years outgoing manager Matt Howgate has helped the centre to adjust to the grim realities of the present climate created by a government intent on denying justice to many.


He has done a sterling job of work in building a new team of highly experienced and skilled lawyers and advice workers. We now use the latest computer software to track and monitor all our cases, enabling target setting and performance monitoring. "Matt Howgate’s firm and expert guidance and dedication, and encyclopaedic knowledge of the current world of the law and its funding, has helped us knowingly improve and adapt to this fast changing world. He has been an excellent manager and team teacher. I am very glad indeed that he is continuing on with us on the Board of Directors.


"Hackney Law Centre continues to be the service that other advice services turn to when the case gets more complicated. We are developing new projects to tackle unlawful evictions; to help people avoid their debts overwhelming them; to help them get the benefits to which they are entitled; to challenge unlawful and inhumane Home Office decisions; and to tackle unfair and discriminatory treatment at every level."


Recent figures on the effects of the changes being made to legal aid have revealed that 5000 Hackney residents could be at risk of losing the legal advice and support provided by the Hackney Community Law Centre. Further figures released reveal that two-thirds (64%) of legal aid cuts made in London could fall in Hackney!


Commenting on his appointment and these figures, new manager Sean Canning said: "I am delighted to have been appointed new manager of the Hackney Community Law Centre. Hackney Law Centre has been providing an excellent local service for over 25 years now and I am keen to ensure that, despite these difficult economic times, the centre will continue to serve all of Hackney's diverse communities. The latest figures showing what could happen if the legal aid changes go ahead in their current form are very worrying; Hackney residents would be disproportionately affected.


Working with Ian Rathbone, the Law Centre's Board of Directors and my new team of expert staff and trained volunteers, I look forward to playing my part in standing up for access to justice in Hackney. I would urge people who care about the future of the law centre to get in touch with us and become a Friend of Hackney Law Centre.  This will enable them to get more actively involved in helping with financial donations or donating their time and skills”.


People can join the Friends of Hackney Law Centre by calling 020 8985 5236 or by emailing miranda@hclc.org.uk