Monday, March 10, 2008


"They deprive the poor of justice in the courts." (Amos 5.12)

For many months, my wife has been wearing a badge on her coat in support of the Law Society's What Price Justice? campaign, highlighting the dismal impact of the UK government's legal aid 'reforms' - which are heading in the direction of the closure of public law centres, the exit of key professionals from an area of law vital to the most vulnerable, and the ongoing loss of adequate representation for those at the bottom of the heap. As Madeleine Bunting says in today's Guardian ('Labour's handling of legal aid makes a mockery of its rhetoric on fairness'), what is happening is an absolute scandal. Apparently, the Legal Services Commission, which has been shrouding the issue in smoke and mirrors, in spite of losing both the case and the argument for unified contracts at the Court of Appeal, is furious about this article. Expect another hand wringing apologia shortly. The LSC and the government are just not listening to the evidence. At a grassroots level, the Access to Justice Alliance (supported by community groups, national charities, lawyers, advisers and others) continues to press for a proper settlement for legal aid. [See also this linked blog on Ekklesia]

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