JusticeWatch: Merry Xmas…

Xmas 2015Birmingham Community Law Centre marks first anniversary
‘It was inconceivable that a city the size of Birmingham could lose its law centre – denying some of its most vulnerable citizens access to advice and justice – so we are very pleased to be able to celebrate 12 months of this vital new service,’ said Professor Harinder Bahra, chair of Coventry Law Centre as Birmingham Community Law Centre celebrated its one year anniversary (reported in the Birmingham Post).

‘These are not fat cat lawyers, they are people dedicated to providing access to justice for the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities,’ said the new shadow attorney general Lord Willy Bach.

‘The cuts to legal aid have made it much more difficult for my most vulnerable constituents to access justice. It is outrageous that justice is becoming a commodity that is available only to the rich in the UK. This will end up costing our society much more in the long term.’
Roger Godsiff, MP for Sparkbrook and Small Heath 

Meanwhile Islington Law Centre celebrated two big wins in the court this week. On Monday the Court of Appeal ruled that legal aid should be available for complex immigration cases, such as those of people fighting deportation (see below). On Tuesday the Court of Appeal also ruled that the detention of asylum seekers who are not at risk of absconding while their case is being decided was unlawful.

Tweet of the week

In 2014 we stopped 300 evictions. @Shelter calculations: save £7,000 for each. We’re paid £79.50. #VFM? #LCtoday

— Sue Bent (@covlaw) December 16, 2014

Plumbing new depths
Judges ‘inflicted a humiliating blow’ on Chris Grayling, reported the Daily Mail as it covered the the Court of Appeal ‘s ruling that Government guidelines on ‘exceptional funding’ for legal aid was ‘unlawful’  in six immigration.

‘The ruling is another blow to Mr Grayling who earlier this month was told a ban on sending books to inmates in jail was unlawful. And last week a paedophile and a dangerous armed robber were controversially awarded hundreds of pounds in compensation because delays in the prison system breached their human rights.’
Daily Mail

‘Just when you thought the mess around the government’s legal aid changes couldn’t get any worse, new depths are plumbed,’ shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter told the Guardian.

‘The government’s legal aid cuts were rushed through before preparing the necessary evidence to justify them. Labour, alongside most of the legal profession, warned that this would lead to miscarriages of justice and would raise substantial barriers to access to justice. David Cameron should listen and fix the mess he has created.’
Andy Slaughter

You can read the latest Legal aid statistics: July 2014 to September 2014 here

Merry Xmas and a happy new year!




About Jon Robins

Jon is a journalist and has written about the law and justice for the national papers and specialist press for more than 15 years. Jon is a visiting journalism lecturer at Winchester University, a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln and patron of Hackney Community Law Centre. He has won the Bar Council’s legal reporter of the year award twice (2015 and 2005). Jon is editor and co-founder of LegalVoice

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