Govanhill Law Centre Opens

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

A new law centre in Govanhill was officially opened by the Lord Advocate the Right Honourable Eilish Angiolini, last month.

Located in Butterbiggins Road, it will provide information and support on housing, employment and other issues for local residents.

Advice is free and the aim is to root out slum landlords, gang masters and organised crime in the area.

Govanhill has some of the most severe housing problems in Scotland, with an estimated 750 slum flats. Many of them are occupied by Roma families who do not know their legal rights and are, therefore, vulnerable to exploitation.

The new law centre has four staff including a speaker of Slovak. They will serve all sections of the diverse Govanhill community.

The model is based on the successful Govan Law Centre and has been developed by that Centre’s Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly. It has taken almost three years and £500,000 to get the Govanhill Law Centre open.

Funding and support has come from the Scottish Government, Govanhill Housing Association, Govanhill Community Development Trust, Oxfam and trade unions Usdaw and Unison.

The centre’s first case is already under way to find a sure and swift way to use compulsory purchase legislation to force the closure of the area’s slum properties.

Already the Centre has instructed one of Scotland’s top QCs to provide a legal opinion on how legislation can be used to eradicate substandard private rented accommodation in the area.


Mike said: ‘We will work hard to earn local trust and confidence. Together, we can root out the slum landlords and the gang masters. Together, we can expose the Mr Bigs and their criminal practices. Govanhill Law Centre will always be on your side and we will always help to fight your corner. It’s your community and it’s time to claim it back from unscrupulous private landlords, gang masters and criminals.’

Eilish told the Local News: ‘Govanhill Law Centre will provide a very valuable rights-based facility for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. When I was growing up in Govan, I was struck by the inequality of the opportunity which existed for people who did not have proper access to clear information. As a result, they could miss out on services and advice which was available.’

Glasgow City Council leader, Councillor Steven Purcell said: ‘The new Govanhill Law Centre is a very welcome addition to the range of support now available in the area. Firm action is being taken to address the complex issues affecting the community. Providing better access to legal advice must be seen as part of the action.’

Janice McEwan, Chairperson of Govanhill Housing Association said: ‘We are delighted and excited at the prospect of the new Law Centre working in partnership with us to improve the slum housing conditions I thought we would never see here again.’

Louise Carlin, Manager for Oxfam Scotland’s Poverty Programme said: ‘Having its own Law Centre will be a real asset to Govanhill. People will have something on their doorstep that will help change their lives for the better.’

Advocate Ross Macfarlane from the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh, stated that he and another 20 Advocates will be on call to provide additional advice on matters relating to housing, employment and other issues.

For more information contact –

Govanhill Law Centre, 168 Butterbiggins Road, Govanhill, Glasgow, G42 7AL. Tel – 0141 433 2665