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.
Making a Murderer, in the UK?
22nd Sept 2016
Chris Topping – Director of JC Group and civil rights, actions against the police and Inquests solicitor. Chris is also Chair of the Access to Justice Committee at Liverpool Law Society.
· Lord McNally: “A plea to all the lawyers – those coming up and those already there. You have got to accept that bandying about access to justice, it’s really quite fraudulent.”
On 14 September 2016, instead of holding a regular monthly meeting in London, we decided to attend an event held by the think tank Politeia on 'Legal Aid: Its Role in an Effective Justice System', featuring the former Minister for Legal Aid, Shailesh Vara MP. YLAL member Henry Gaster-Evans attended the talk and kindly provided this report.
YLAL Monthly Meeting – July 2016
Attendees: Rachel, Ollie, John, Imogen, Francis, Ian, Gift, Nathan, Phil, Nina, Callum, Catriona, Karolina, Richard, Martin, Andrea, Daniel, Kate, Louise, Rachel, Maia, Matt, Mark, Anastasia, Emily, Eva, Sophie and others.
1.Welcome and introduction
Meeting in London
1. Welcome and introduction
2. Justice in the dock
Jodie Blackstock, Director of Criminal Justice at JUSTICE told us about JUSTICE's In The Dock report. The report considers the use of the dock in criminal trials, and the impact of this on the defendant's right to a fair trial.
Since the last meeting in April, please find below a brief update on what people can get involved with/support and attend for YLAL North: -
The subject of the meeting was Being a Legal Officer in a Human Rights Charity: what's involved and how to get there. We were joined by Hermione McEwen, legal officer at Freedom from Torture, to speak about her career to date and how the charity's work has been affected by cuts to legal aid.
We had a great talk with Hermione, it was a privilege to hear from someone who has had so much experience as a lawyer and judge. Thanks to all that came and especially to Katy Moulton for organising.