JusticeWatch: Sharing Solutions Conference

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:

  • Funding
  • 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.

More austerity
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’.

More here.



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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