JusticeWatch: Legal aid at 70

Posted by - 2nd August 2019

‘A shadow of its former self’ ‘Happy birthday legal aid,’ wrote Daniel Newman and Faith Gordon for The Conversation. For 70 years, the people of England and Wales have enjoyed the right to be provided legal assistance at public expense if they cannot afford a lawyer, they wrote. ‘Despite the importance of legal aid as

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My Justice First Fellow: Naima Asif

Posted by - 15th March 2019

Naima Asif was one of the first barristers to qualify under The Legal Education Foundation’s Justice First Fellowship. After a year as a caseworker at Advocate, the Bar’s pro bono unit, she completed pupillage at Pump Court Chambers in London in October 2018. You can read the rest of the series here.  I want to

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JusticeWatch: Right to rent ruling

Posted by - 1st March 2019

‘Right to rent’ ruling The government’s controversial ‘Right to Rent’ scheme was causing racial discrimination and violating human rights laws, the High Court has found – according to a report in the Independent this morning. The law, which requires private landlords to check the immigration status of potential tenants, was found to violate the European Convention

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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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