Submission to the Review of the Civil Legal Aid Scheme
CLM’s history is closely interlinked with the movement for civil legal aid in Ireland. Previously Coolock Community Law Centre, CLM was established in Coolock in 1975 as the first independent, community-based law centre in Ireland. It was modelled on the American neighbourhood law centre (now known in Ireland as the community law centre model) and its purpose initially was to serve as a prototype law centre and campaign tool in the movement for civil legal aid.
This model has a number of important characteristics. Services are free of charge, making them as accessible as possible; community education – creating an awareness of rights and the law – is a critical part of the work; and a focus on law reform ensures that the issues being raised in our services inform and influence change in policy and legislation.
The Pringle Report to Government in 1977 recommended a similarly expanded system of civil legal aid, including public information and education services on legal rights as well as representation for all types of civil proceedings.
Despite the fact that the Civil Legal Aid Scheme (“the Scheme”), introduced in 1979, saw the establishment of a different and more limited model under the Legal Aid Board, CLM has continued to grow and expand its services, working to remove barriers to the law on the basis that all people should be able to access basic legal information and advice regardless of their income and background. It continues to work to identify and unlock the legalities, regulations, policies, and procedures that manifest as barriers and obstacles to a fair and better life for all individuals in the community.
Read the submission in full here: