JusticeWatch: Supporting the next generation of social welfare lawyers

Posted by - 22nd February 2019

Farewell to Steve Steve Hynes is leaving LAG at the end of the month after 11 years as its director. Carol Storer, the former director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, has been appointed as interim director. ‘Steve played a leading role in campaigning against the cuts introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment

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My Justice First Fellowship: Alex Lowry

Posted by - 25th January 2019

Alex Lowry, 25, is a Justice First Fellow at RCJ Advice in central London. She qualified as a solicitor in 2018.   The best thing about being a legal aid lawyer is helping people who are in genuine need and seeing the change it makes in their lives. The worst thing is seeing panicked and

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JusticeWatch: LASPO review ‘nearly done’…

Posted by - 18th January 2019

Low salaries are a ‘barrier to social mobility’ The Young Legal Aid Lawyers repeated calls for the reintroduction of a mandatory minimum salary after it was revealed that one in four trainee solicitors were paid below the recommended level. The Solicitors Regulation Authority scrapped the minimum salary for trainees in 2014 and now firms are required

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Doing it Yourself: litigants in person in the post-LASPO family court

Posted by - 14th December 2018

The reforms to legal aid in England and Wales have been the subject of significant controversy since their implementation under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act in April 2013. In my recently completed doctoral research, I examined the ways in which this has marked a fundamental shift in how different people

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The great fallacy of mandatory sentencing laws

Posted by - 6th December 2018

The great fallacy of mandatory sentencing laws is the thought that being tough on crime will deter people from committing crimes in the first place. This is an attractive prospect, as legal professionals and policymakers we strive to see less people incarcerated and going through the criminal legal system. Yet as Ed Davey MP, the

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JusticeWatch: Untold damage

Posted by - 16th November 2018

Judge crowdfunds whistleblowing case The first judge to take a whistleblowing appeal to the supreme court launched a crowdfunding campaign to test the employment rights of judges, reported Owen Bowcott in the Guardian. Apparently, Claire Gilham, a district judge at Warrington county court, raised concerns about ‘overwork, death threats and bullying, as well as austerity’

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Defining ‘vulnerability’ in the enforcement of public debts

Posted by - 14th November 2018

When the accessibility of justice is threatened, considerable strain is placed on legal definitions. Such definitions carve out the boundaries of, for example, eligibility for increased welfare support. They may provide justification for expressions of leniency or severity in legal responses, or act as a ringfence for legal issues which will be addressed outside of

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LASPO cuts a ‘false economy’, say MPs

Posted by - 9th November 2018

MPs called on ministers to restore funding for early legal advice as well as welfare advice as a matter of urgency. The Labour MP Andy Slaughter, who opened the three-hour long Westminster debate last week, claimed that the aim to reduce the legal aid budget under LASPO had been ‘overachieved’, whilst the reforms had ‘underachieved in every other

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