Being the seventh child of eleven, was an unusual family arrangement. Fun and yet also chaotic at times, healthy debates and impassioned arguments were commonplace in my childhood. A legal career, perhaps then for me, was inevitable. An early training, paying dividends now. But in a large family there were compromises too and of course, a portion of your parents’ time, good or bad.
Photographs of me and my siblings are in scarce supply and still now the provenance of a picture often hotly debated, the subject forgotten over time. Maybe being one of many, is why as an adult, identity is sometimes at the forefront of my mind.
I lived in East London for many years, it is where I met my partner Jamie and our son Charlie was born there too. Becoming a mother has made me see, now more than ever, how important our identity is, because we all matter. In our new Covid world, it is quite easy for some to feel that they don't matter, that their problems are theirs alone and that there is no help. With the closure of some of our courts, law centres too and the withering away of legal aid, it is true there is less and less help for some individuals and a greater inequality is surfacing.
This inequality concerns me. I am grateful that, through modern technology, our socially distant online legal advice centre is here to help those with nowhere to turn, in any way that we can. Individuals do matter, from all parts of society, and even more so in an age when we talk of numbers, and of percentages and not of individuals. We are here to help, so please do call.
Eleanor Scarlett is a senior law lecturer and the Director of UEL's Legal Advice Centre which remains open online during London lockdown.