The Public Interest Law Centre specialises in public law, actions against public authorities and public inquiries. We act for individuals and campaign groups who have been treated unlawfully by public bodies. We also support communities, activists and social movements to use the law as a tool for social action. We are based in London, with clients citywide as well as in the South East and nationally.
PILC began on one rented table, with access to a phone and a photocopier. At that time we were part of Lambeth Law Centre, and seen as a semi-independent public law unit. At our founding we had one lawyer and one case – we were instructed by four core participants in the undercover policing public inquiry. We built our work from this. We developed our public law casework challenging public authorities’ unlawful decisions in matters relating to education, homelessness, the ‘hostile environment’ and the effects of austerity.
How we work
Our solicitors, caseworkers & researchers meet with individuals and community groups to explore how legal action could help them challenge injustice and defend their social and human rights. We work with campaigners to develop strategic litigation for social change. Our current caseload reflects our interest in opposing austerity, the hostile environment, state surveillance & violence against women.
Funding your case
The Public Interest Law Centre operates under the umbrella of Camden Community Law Centre. We are a law centre specialising in legal challenges to public bodies. Nearly all of our casework is conducted under a legal aid contract administered through the Legal Aid Agency. We litigate on behalf of individuals, campaigns groups and NGOs. Where possible we conduct pro bono casework.
What is public law?
Public law is essentially about how public bodies, such as local councils and government departments, use and exercise their power. When they exercise that power unlawfully or if the decision making process itself is unjust they can be open to legal challenge – that challenge can be by way of the complaints system or by judicial review if there is no other remedy available.
PILC works in solidarity with social justice movements and working class communities under threat. Our aim is to unite litigation, advocacy & campaigns to hold power to account and dismantle systems of oppression.
- Litigation: what is legal is not always just. We use creative legal strategies to change the law to meet the demands of justice. We build our legal work around the demands of social justice campaigners and working-class communities
- Advocacy, media & research: the law has its limits. Alongside strategic litigation, we use advocacy, media & research to challenge oppression & expose unjust policies & practices. We make space for the voices and experiences of those who have been pushed to the margins
- Supporting community action: The law belongs to the people. We build the capacity of communities through legal education & help activists to make strategic litigation part of their campaigning strategy. We take the law to those who do not have access to it or wouldn’t normally use it