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Statement: Report by UN Special Rapporteur

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) welcomes the publication today (22 May 2019) of the final report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, following his visit to the United Kingdom in November 2018.

The UN Special Rapporteur rightly states that legal aid has been "dramatically reduced" in England and Wales since the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The report notes that the number of cases funded by civil legal aid "declined by a staggering 82 per cent between 2010-11 and 2017-18".

The report's conclusion that "many poor people are unable to effectively claim and enforce their rights" will come as no surprise to legal aid lawyers. It should, however, act as a catalyst for the government to change course and reverse the cuts to legal aid made since 2012.

It is disappointing, therefore, that the government has described the report by the UN Special Rapporteur as a "barely believable documentation" of Britain. On the contrary, the report is based on verifiable facts and should not be discounted by ministers simply because it accurately describes the negative impact of government policies.

We call on the Ministry of Justice and the government as a whole to give serious consideration to the findings of this report and to act accordingly to urgently address extreme poverty, protect human rights and improve access to justice in the UK.

Read our statement in response to the report below.

 

Brexit, Human Rights and Access to Justice - YLAL Midlands event on 9 May 2019

On Thursday 9 May 2019, YLAL Midlands hosted an event on Brexit, Human Rights and Access to Justice at the Irwin Mitchell office in Birmingham.

YLAL co-chair Oliver Carter introduced the event and gave a presentation on key Brexit-related litigation, including the Miller, Wightman and Wilson cases, and the possible impact of leaving that leaving the European Union will have on human rights and access to justice in the UK. Ollie's slides are attached at the bottom of this page.

Statement on legal aid for Shamima Begum

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) notes the media reports stating that legal aid funding will be granted to Shamima Begum, the Bethnal Green schoolgirl who travelled to Syria to join ISIS at the age of 15.

YLAL staunchly believes that public funding should be available to all those who cannot afford to pay for their own legal advice and representation. Access to justice is a fundamental human right, and a crucial component of the rule of law in our democratic society.

Statement on LASPO review delay

Justice delayed is justice denied: YLAL expresses concern about LASPO review delay

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) is disappointed at the continuing delay in the publication of the post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) by the Ministry of Justice.