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Liberty announce ambitious expansion of its free legal advice service

Ian Browne

Human rights campaigning organisation Liberty has recruited a new Advice and Information Manager to spearhead a vital expansion of its public-facing legal advice service.

Ian Browne will lead an ambitious future programme for Liberty’s Advice and Information team, which provides free legal advice to thousands of people across Britain every year, empowering them to take action if their rights – or those of loved ones – are threatened.

Sustained Government cuts to legal aid have had a catastrophic effect on ordinary people’s ability to right wrongs and defend their fundamental human rights in court. Until the Ministry of Justice reverses its destructive policies, Liberty’s Advice and Information service – and others like it – will be an increasingly valuable lifeline for anyone unable to find or afford a lawyer.

The Advice and Information Manager will oversee the creation of a new online legal advice system, allowing more members of the public in more areas of the country to understand and defend their rights.

The Advice and Information Manager will also develop a series of trainings for frontline organisations, such as groups supporting survivors of domestic violence and victims of crime, to provide legal advice tailored to their specialisms – dramatically improving access to justice across the country.

Liberty appointed Ian Browne following a competitive external recruitment process. Ian was previously one of Liberty’s Advice and Information Officers, having come to the organisation in 2016 from the Legal Advice Centre in East London. He is a committee member at the Young Legal Aid Lawyers, a former chair of the Young Lawyers Committee of the Human Rights Lawyers Association and a trustee of Hackney Community Law Centre.

Ian Browne said: “Liberty’s Advice and Information team provide a vital service to members of the public who need help and may have nowhere else to turn. The decimation of legal aid has priced ordinary people out of the justice system. Until the Ministry of Justice opens its eyes to the damage it has caused and reverses the cuts, more and more people will be reliant on the capacity of free advice services.

“Although it can never replace the lawyer that so many people desperately need, by expanding Liberty’s service we hope we will be able to do even more to assist those in need and train other groups to do likewise.”

The new position was only made possible thanks to the generosity of People’s Postcode Lottery players who awarded Liberty £250,000 earlier this year.