LEGAL HELP FOR THE POOR.
[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."
Sit,—The East London Tenants' and General Legal Protection Committee was founded in 1899 to protect poor persons from the infringement of their legal rights, and to secure to them any redress to which they are entitled. To this end the honorary solicitor and members of the Committee attend at Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel, every Tuesday evening at eight o'clock and inter- view persons seeking redress.
Many cases require only advice and a statement of their rights, and this often prevents litigation. In others a letter from the Committee produces the desired result. The mere existence of the Committee has been, and is still, invaluable in upholding a standard of fair dealing. But it was soon found that the strength of the Committee and their effectiveness depended very largely on their readiness to pay the expenses of any case in which they considered legal redress should be obtained, and this, of course, involves expenditure.
No cases but the very poorest are taken up. The fact that during the last two years, of a hundred and thirty-five cases in which the Committee took action, they were successful in a hundred and fourteen, is a sufficient proof of the care with which the work is carried on. In addition to this, as many as fifty applicants weekly are interviewed and given timely advice which proves invaluable to them.
The. cases dealt with by the Committee are very various in character, but we may mention two by way of example :—(1) A landlord, intending to let a shop to a new tenant, sent in his builder to make alterations while the previous tenancy was still running. The builder removed the front wall, making the house uninhabitable and damaging the tenant's property. The Com- mittee obtained redress for this tenant. (2) A man was run over and killed by a vehicle, and left a widow and five children without means of support. Had not the Committee obtained substantial compensation for them, they would have been dependent entirely upon relief. Often the very injuries for which persons seek redress deprive them of the necessary funds with which to bring an action; tig procedure in forma pauperis is practically useless for this purpose.
Hitherto, thinks to the generosity of private donors, no public appeal has been found necessary. Owing, however, to growth in the work and the death of contributors, the Society has now liabilities amounting to about £100, which must be met if the work is to continue. If only one hundred persons will spare us a guinea, the Society will be in a position to carry on its work.
Donations may be sent to the honorary treasurer, East London Tenants' and General Legal Protection Committee Toynbee Hall, Commercial Street, Whitechapel, E.—We are, Sir, ,in., Sextun, A. BARNETT, President of the Committee. HARRY Lawson, Hon. Treasurer. C. WALE'S' COHEN, Chairman.
[Here is help for the poor clear of the slightest taint of pauperisation.—En. Spectator.]