25 Years: Govan Law Centre

Get a coffee, sit back and enjoy our new film. 25years: Govan Law Centre. It is a celebration of Glasgow’s law centres, the volunteers, the staff past and present and the funders who have supported us over the years including: Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government, the Oak Foundation and the Big Lottery, ABC Charity to name but a few (there have been many more).

Govan Law Centre is 25 years old this year. We exist because of your support. We want as many people as possible to understand the work of law centres.

We work to make a difference, we change lives, build stronger communities and support people and their families to improve their situation. We use the law to tackle poverty and disadvantage: to end homelessness, increase incomes, and to widen access to public services.

We provide expert advice, court and tribunal representation in Scotland. We specialise in housing, landlord and tenant, homelessness, welfare rights, money advice, social services, consumer and debt. We also have an education law unit for pupils (and their parents) who have additional support needs.

And we do a lot of work with, asylum seekers and refugees, carers and for people with mental health problems.

In Glasgow, community law centres have a proud track record in defending eviction actions and pioneering new legal remedies and innovations.

We are a campaigning law centre. Leading and supporting many campaigns over the past 25 years.

GLC drafted the first member’s bill introduced, and passed, in the Scottish Parliament twenty years ago two end poundings and warrant sales. A couple of years later we wrote the School Meals (Scotland) Bill.

In Govan we pioneered self-help free toolkits. Our first experience was providing bank charge refund letters online in 2004, within a year over 1 million letters had been downloaded for free.

Our bank charges campaign went viral across the UK in 2005, we took on the UK banking system. The campaign helped get £1.7bn refunded for free to consumers across the UK.

We provided free online toolkits which went viral including the Payday Loan Survival Guide and the Bedroom Tax toolkit.

Later we helped Elaine Smith draft the Breastfeeding (Scotland) Act at a time when mothers were being chucked off buses and thrown out of shops for feeding their weans.

We fought for greater rights for homeowners to prevent the repossession of their homes in Scotland after the financial crash of 2008.

In 2011, we helped Patricia Ferguson draft the Property Factor (Scotland) Act at a time when any cowboy could be a factor as the sector was completely unregulated. The Evening Times ran a powerful campaign that helped ensure the bill was supported and ultimately passed.

Even now we are drafting a cross party bill for Pauline McNeil MSP to improve the rights of private sector tenants. And we work on many city council and scottish government working groups to give our experience and expertise.

Lets celebrate the work of Law Centres – not just in Govan or Glasgow or the UK but – across the world.

We want to thank David Hayman and Shooters production company for this short film about our clients, people and history.

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