Sharing Solutions Conference
This year’s conference will be held on Tuesday, May 21. It is a collaboration involving LegalVoice, the LIP Network, LIP Support Strategy and the Access to Justice Foundation. It will focus on showcasing and discussing solutions that will address key issues faced by the access to justice sector today.
Sessions are likely to cover:
- Identifying and supporting distressed clients – a psychiatrist view
- How do we make people care about access to justice?
- Using pro bono to meet local need with local assets
- Driven to digital distraction – re purposing tech for good so it works for us
- Supporting health and well-being in your organisation
- Regulation, regulation, regulation – a GDPR top up
If you are interested in attending, complete the expression of interest form. The conference is free though a refundable £20 deposit fee will be taken (repaid on attendance of the conference). Travel grants will be available for charitable organisations based further than 100 miles from London.
Molly Russell inquest
The family of a 14-year-old girl who took her own life after viewing disturbing material online has been granted legal aid for her inquest after an appeal – as reported on the Justice Gap (here).
The MoJ confirmed that Molly Russell’s family would receive public funding to cover their legal costs and will not have to foot the bill themselves. Molly took her life days before her 15th birthday in 2017 after viewing images self-harm and suicide material on social media sites. Her father, Ian Russell said that he was delighted that the Legal Aid Agency has reconsidered their decision. ‘This decision is a weight lifted from our family and we now look ahead to a full and fearless inquest into Molly’s death,’ he added.
Merry Varney, solicitor at Leigh Day, welcomed the decision. ‘However, it is disappointing that our clients had to go through the appeal process to get to a positive outcome and many other families are not successful in their appeals and cannot afford to bring a judicial review against the LAA.’
‘This leaves them either reliant on lawyers working for free, fundraising or having to represent themselves at their loved one’s inquest, completely unqualified and unprepared against experienced legal teams on the other side,’ Varney said.
It should not take appeals from expert solicitors for families to access legal aid funding for inquests in cases of significant public interest. However, great to see the family now have access to the funding they need.
— INQUEST (@INQUEST_ORG) March 12, 2019
There was ‘no end in sight’ to austerity in the justice system, according to thinktank the New Economics Foundation. The Law Society’s Gazette reported that unprotected departments including the MoJ faced ‘a continuing squeeze on spending well into the 2020s’. ‘By 2023/24, the foundation has calculated, real terms per person funding for the MoJ will have fallen by 51% since 2010/11,’ it said. ‘Only Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), down 56% on 2010/11 in real terms over the same period, will be worse hit.’
The Gazette also reported that the Ministry of Justice has provided further details of its review of criminal legal aid fees. ‘The ministry says it wants to reform the fee schemes so that they fairly reflect, and pay for, work done, support market sustainability, limit ‘perverse’ incentives, and ensure proportionate administrative burdens on everyone,’ it said.
In a letter seen by the Gazette, London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association president Jon Black told members that it was ‘vital for everyone’s livelihoods and our clients’ ability to access justice that you take this opportunity to feed into this project’.
- JusticeWatch: Death by a thousand cuts - 15th November 2019
- JusticeWatch: Two-tier justice - 8th November 2019
- JusticeWatch: Courts ‘strained to breaking’ - 1st November 2019
- JusticeWatch: People in Wales ‘let down’ by justice system - 25th October 2019
- JusticeWatch: Number of collapsed criminal cases ‘almost doubled’ in four years - 18th October 2019
- JusticeWatch: Equal to everything - 11th October 2019
- JusticeWatch: Inequality of arms - 4th October 2019
- JusticeWatch: Breaking point - 27th September 2019
- JusticeWatch: ‘Justice for the people – not the privileged few’ - 20th September 2019
- JusticeWatch: ‘We need to love legal aid – as we do the NHS’ - 13th September 2019