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Sir Henry Brooke visits HCLC!


We are delighted to have welcomed Sir Henry Brooke to Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC).


On Tuesday 30th May 2017, Sir Henry, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, spent two hours at HCLC to talk to us about the work of the Law Centre and current challenges for clients due to the reduction in legal aid and government funding for legal advice and representation.



Sir Henry, who since retiring from the Court of Appeal, has become a well respected blogger on access to justice issues, wrote about his visit to HCLC on his blog the next day. 


Sir Henry wrote:  "When I visited Hackney Law Centre yesterday and talked to their inspiring staff, I met Nathaniel Mathews, their senior housing officer who has been working in this field since 1993.  I told him that my wife and I had felt a sense of despair when we read his recent blog about a typical day in his working life. Last night he sent me this message: “You were kind enough to read my blog and say there was despair. Yes, but there is hope. That must conquer all.” What a remarkable man! I too, live in hope, that at long long last we may see some sensible change of policy towards some of the most vulnerable people in our society".


We were very pleased that Sir Henry got to meet our brilliant intern Sona (pictured above first from left) and day volunteer Catherine (second from right) as well as as HCLC's lawyers, staff and trustees (represented by HCLC Chair Ian Rathbone, pictured first from right).  


Writing on his twitter account the week after his visit (see above), Sir Henry wrote: "I was really impressed by the scale of the volunteer effort at @HackneyLawCentr last week - and their quality and obvious enthusiasm."



Sir Henry is a bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple HCLC's development officer Miranda Grell was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 2014 and really enjoyed speaking to Sir Henry about the pioneering work he had carried out to improve race equality at the Bar when he chaired the Bar Council's Race Relations Committee. The brilliant Kapila Lecture Sir Henry gave on the matter in 1993 is still very relevant and, in HCLC's view, should be compulsory reading for all senior members of the legal profession. 




Commenting on Sir Henry's visit to the Centre, HCLC Chair Ian Rathbone said: 


"It's an honour for Sir Henry to visit us and for him to demonstrate that like many lawyers, he is very much concerned at the restrictions placed on access to justice by legal aid cuts.


I know that he had felt a sense of despair about the situation but he also noted that Nat Mathews, our senior solicitor, had pointed out there is also hope that 'must conquer all'.

Sir Henry said he too, 'lives in hope, that at long long last we may see some sensible change of policy towards some of the most vulnerable people in our society'.


I am glad he shares our view and I know the team were immensely encouraged by his visit."


Thank you very much again to Sir Henry for making the time to visit Hackney Community Law Centre!