Hundreds of charities, campaigners, trade unions and lawyers are expected to gather outside the Old Bailey after work this Tuesday 30th July at a rally organised by the newly formed Justice Alliance .
The rally will celebrate the 64th anniversary of legal aid – introduced by the Legal Aid and Assistance Act on 30th July 1949 – and protest against the government’s proposed further cuts, which threaten the removal of access to justice for thousands of people.
Speakers at the rally include the director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, who has condemned the legal aid cuts as a breach to human rights, and Just for Kids Law’s Shauneen Lambe, who acted in the recent High Court case that ruled that treating 17-year-olds in police custody as adults is unlawful. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP and Ian Lawrence from the probation and family courts union Napo are also due to speak.
In organising the rally, the Justice Alliance has invited speakers to reflect the wide-ranging and devastating impact the government’s Transforming Legal Aid proposals would have across society. Miscarriage of justice victim Raphael Rowe – one of the M25 Three – and Birmingham 6 lawyer Gareth Peirce will speak, as well as the mother of a rape victim and Anne Hall, whose severely disabled son Daniel Roque Hall was recently released from prison early after his lawyers argued the prison service could not meet his complex medical needs.
The London Youth Gospel Choir and the musician and BBC 6 Music presenter Tom Robinson will provide entertainment at the 64th birthday celebration.
Criminal defence solicitor and Justice Alliance member Matt Foot said: ‘We have a long tradition of ordinary people accessing legal advice and challenging government decisions through legal aid and judicial review and these reforms will end this access to justice.
‘Anyone who believes in making the principle of justice for all and that proper legal representation should not be a privilege of the rich should join our celebration of legal aid on 30th July.’
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