Our London meeting on Wednesday 13 September 2017 at Hodge Jones & Allen focussed on the recent Court of Appeal judgment on legal aid for prisoners and the work of the Howard League for Penal Reform, with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy and Marie Franklin of the Howard League joining us as guest speakers.
Report of the inaugural APPG meeting of the new Parliament – 12.07.2017
From Grenfell Tower to unrepresented children to the collapse in legal aid providers, LASPO impedes access to justice
“Where is the Rule of Law when Parliament denies justice to those who can least afford it?”
Carol Storer, the director of Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG), joined us as a guest speaker to discuss what happens next for legal aid, following this month’s election. Ollie introduced Carol, noting that we had expected this meeting to be about the implications of a significant Conservative majority government. However, we now have a hung Parliament with a minority Conservative government, and a strengthened Labour party which is the most pro-access to justice in recent memory.
Carol covered a number of topics on upcoming challenges and opportunities, including:
On Wednesday 10 May 2017, Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) held a pre-general election debate at Garden Court Chambers in London on Access to Justice After the Election, with representatives of the main political parties setting out their respective policies on legal aid and access to justice.
The panel consisted of:
On 17 January 2017, The All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Legal aid, on Pro Bono and on Public Legal Education came together for the first time to host a conversation with Sir Oliver Heald QC, the Minister of State for Courts and Justice. YLAL jointly co-ordinates the APPG on Legal Aid with the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
At the joint meeting, the Minister kicked off the meeting with a speech laying out the MoJ’s current priorities in this area:
1. Reform of the courts;
"Insightful and practical; exactly what any aspiring lawyer needs to achieve success"
Jack Bizzell – Staffordshire University Student – LLB Hons Law 2 Year Fast Track
On 28 March 2017, Staffordshire University Law School was delighted to host a joint event between Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) and Aspiring Solicitors (AS). Nearly 80 people attended the event, including a number of solicitors and barristers from Stoke and Manchester.
We met at the University of Law, Bristol, on 7 February 2017 for our event 'Uncovering the truth behind deaths in custody', hearing from experts on the law and procedures that apply when individuals die in state detention.
On Wednesday 9 November 2016, we held a careers event, 'Becoming a Legal Aid Lawyer', at London South Bank University. Young Legal Aid Lawyers co-chairs Oliver Carter and Rachel Francis presented an introduction to YLAL and a brief history of legal aid, from the Poor Prisoners Defence Act 1903, which introduced criminal legal aid for defendants in the higher criminal courts, to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 ('LASPO'), which wholly or partially removed a number of areas of law from the scope of legal aid.
On 1 November, YLAL North groups in Manchester and Sheffield heard from Lawyers Against Poverty about their exerience of the refugee crisis in Jordan.
In June 2016, three solicitors embarked on a fact-finding mission to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan as part of a Lawyers Against Poverty project.
At our last London meeting we heard from Mike McColgan from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign about the need for a public, transparent, inquiry into the actions of the police against miners at Orgreave in June 1984. This is important to get truth and justice for the miners and families of those involved in the incident, to hold the state accountable in an open forum, to make sure that justice is done.