News from Our Team

 Catch up with all the news from HCLC’s hardworking and friendly team!












Diane Morrison qualifies as a solicitor! – November 2012 

We are delighted to report that following the successful completion of her Legal Practice Course (LPC), Diane Morrison, who has worked at Hackney Community Law Centre as a generalist advisor and then a trainee solicitor, has now formally qualified as a solicitor.

Diane Morrison joined the Law Centre as a typist in May 2005 (initially on a part time basis). She then qualified as a Generalist Adviser with the CAB (Holborn) on a part-time basis and became the Law Centre’s main adviser alongside the specialist caseworkers.  She still volunteers with the CAB.  From 2009 onwards she started the Law Centre’s volunteer programme.

Diane’s main experience has been in the social welfare law team – alongside supporting the volunteers with front level advice work and she also gives legal advice at HCLC’s new Community Law Shops Pop-Up service every Monday in Hackney Central library.

Outside of the Law Centre she is also a keen distance runner (she completed her fourth marathon in London in April 2012).  She also believes the world’s problems could be solved if more people learned knitting and embroidery.  She is a member of the Womens’ Institute (Alexander Palace) and has joined the London Comedy Writers circuit as an outlet for writing sketch comedy.  She was also the secretary of the St Ignatius Soup Run for 11 years and is a member of a choir.

Ian Rathbone, Chair of HCLC, said: “I have watched with pleasure Diane grow in skill, confidence and professionalism over the years with us, and am very proud that she has qualified as a solicitor. We have helped to give her that opportunity to explore her potential and develop her expertise and knowledge and look forward to seeing her further grow as she helps us take on the difficult challenges of the years to come. She is an important part of what we do to help the people of Hackney“.

Huge congratulations, Diane!  HCLC is very lucky to have you!

Read about other members of the HCLC team HERE.


Paul Heron wins Law Society Excellence Award! – October 2012

The Law Society Excellence Awards reward the most outstanding practitioners in the legal profession and are open to the entire legal sector, not just solicitors. Entries were judged earlier this month by specialist judges, including Adam Sampson, former Chief Executive of housing charity Shelter, now Chief Executive of the Legal Ombudsman; Frances Gibb, legal editor at The Times; and Chris Marston, head of professional practices at Lloyds TSB.

The winners were announced by BBC broadcaster Mishal Husain at a special black-tie dinner and presentation ceremony, which took place on October 18th at Old Billingsgate, London.

Reacting to the news that he had won the Excellence Award Paul Heron said:

“I am really pleased to receive this Law Society Excellence Award as an acknowledgement not just of the work that I do but also the hard work and commitment to social justice demonstrated by the staff, solicitors, caseworkers, interns and volunteers here at the Hackney Community Law Centre day-in and day-out.

It is a shame, however, that at a time when we should be fully celebrating and building on this success, the cuts to legal aid will threaten HCLC’s ability to help an ever growing number of vulnerable people obtain access to justice“.

Chair of Hackney Community Law Centre Ian Rathbone said:

Paul Heron’s excellence award demonstrates that though Hackney Community Law Centre may be small and not have all the resources of bigger commercial companies, we have lawyers with a strong sense of justice and the persistence and integrity to carry that through for clients. Paul is a great lawyer for the people of Hackney”.

To see HCLC’S photos from the special black-tie dinner and awards ceremony, click HERE!



London Legal Walk 2012

Hackney Community Law Centre was proud to participate in this year’s London Legal Walk organised by the London Legal Support Trust (click on the image on the left to enlarge its text).  See photos from the day HERE.









Off Centre

Youth Advice Service – February 2012

If you need legal advice on a housing problem or inappropriate accommodation and are aged 16 – 24 Hackney Community Law Centre is now a new service running at Off Centre and the Levy Centre.

The services take place every Thursday morning after then at either the Off Centre or the Levy Centre’s premises.

Chorouk (pictured above) will be working alongside the Off Centre and the Levy Centre’s Advice & Advocacy workers to provide specialist legal advice on things like – Homeless Applications, claiming benefits, rent arrears etc.

Contact the Off Centre on (0208 986 4016) or Hackney Community Law Centre on 07530 845 303 to make an appointment and check where that week’s session will be held.

More detailed information about the new Youth Advice Service can be found HERE.



HCLC Chair Ian Rathbone pays tribute to outgoing manager Matt Howgate – December 2011

“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”.


Goodbye and good luck to Yvonne Stevens! – December 2011

After 23 years at the Hackney Law Centre, immigration solicitor Yvonne has left HCLC to set up her own firm, Owens Stevens.

For the last 18 years, Yvonne has gained a wealth of experience working as a caseworker for Hackney Community Law Centre specialising in immigration, nationality, housing and community care.  She is also a senior accredited caseworker under the Law Society Immigration and Nationality Accreditation scheme.  Yvonne Stevens has been qualified as a solicitor for 5 years.

HCLC wishes Yvonne all the best in her new role.