Our office remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

History of DLS

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Our beginnings

The Disability Law Service began at a Camden community centre, run by volunteers on a part-time basis providing face-to-face advice at weekly drop-in sessions. The demand for DLS’s advice and guidance grew quickly and funding was obtained for office space and to employ full-time solicitors.


Evaluating our services

The Disability Law Service began evaluating the needs of users and we began to provide more specialised advice and services in the areas of public and social welfare law.


Our first Discrimination Law solicitor

We secured a full-time Discrimination Law solicitor, who specialised in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), following a successful application to the National Lottery Charities Board. The DDA solicitor set up the DDA Advisers Group and participated in other relevant forums concerned with fighting discrimination, in addition to delivering much needed specialist training.


Expanding our services

We expanded our services to employ legal advisers to cover further areas of the law, including Community Care, Consumer / Contract, Education, Employment, and Welfare Benefits.


An award and a move

The Legal Services Commission awarded DLS a civil, not for profit contract in all five areas of law. We also moved from our over-crowded offices in Holborn to fully accessible premises in Whitechapel, East London.


The Disability Rights Project

From April 2006, we participated in the Disability Rights Project in conjunction with several other law centres across England. The Disability Rights Project was a national project with the Disability Commission (now merged into the Equality and Human Rights Commission) to fund 13 full-time Disability Rights Workers (DRWs). The aim of the project was to create a higher profile for disability rights issues and carry out a casework service, particularly in relation to Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The project concluded in March 2008.


Another office move

From our offices in East London, we moved to the Centre for Social Justice and Human Rights (known as the Foundry) near the Oval, where we remain today.


A landmark case

We successfully argued in the European Court of Human Rights that a failure to consider a person’s dignity could amount to a breach of human rights, thereby setting a hugely important precedent.



We continue to grow from strength to strength. In addition to consulting with the government on key disability legislation, we continue to win judgments that improve the lives and chances of people with disabilities, their families, and their carers.