As British Summer Time comes to a close and we turn our clocks back this Sunday 27th October, I feel reflective about what has been an eventful season. I have decided to make a timeline to show what has been going on…
In April 2013, the government announced their plans to ‘Transform Legal Aid’. This may seem a lifetime ago to those who have been watching events unfold.
In June, I attended Legal Aid Question Time and was given a great opportunity to ask Lord McNally a question about the legal aid proposals – https://gemmab82.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/legal-aid-question-time-18-june-2013/
We also our first debate by the Backbenchers https://gemmab82.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/backbench-business-committee-legal-aid-debate-27th-june-2013/ which lead to surge in signatures of the Save UK Justice petition, as it hit 100,000!
Justice Select Committee then heard evidence from legal professionals https://gemmab82.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/justice-select-committee-one-off-evidence-session-transforming-legal-aid-consultation/ and then, later, from Chris grayling himself https://gemmab82.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/justiceselectcommittee_graylinggivesevidence/
The same day as Grayling provided his evidence to the Committee, Law Society released an alternative to the government’s proposals and gave this explanation https://gemmab82.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/why-the-law-society-proposed-alternatives/
The consultation period came to a close, responses were submitted in large numbers.
In the meantime, Justice Alliance held a Rally for Legal Aid in July to celebrate the birth of legal aid in 1949 http://legalvoice.org.uk/blog/rally-for-legal-aid-pictures-and-report/
After the Ministry of Justice received 16,000 responses, and opened their second consultation period, yet another debate in Parliament occurred, when they returned from their holiday, in Westminster Hall – https://gemmab82.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/legal_aid_debate_040913/
Defence lawyers met to discuss the second lot of proposals http://legalvoice.org.uk/crime/justice-closing-down-sale-everyone-must-go/ – meanwhile Grayling made another u-turn (client choice and PCT), but the threat to legal aid, access to justice and the rule of law remained http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/gemma-blythe/victory-for-british-justice-but-so-much-more-to-do
Grayling has more recently given a second session of evidence to the Justice Select Committee http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/gemma-blythe/does-grayling-respect-nothing-but-market
The consultation period closes on 1st November and responses, the the same high numbers, are absolutely essential.
30 October 2013 6.30-9.30 pm:
Venue: London South Bank University, Keyworth Centre, Event Theatre
YoungLegal Aid Lawyers are holding an event: “Social Mobility in the Legal Aid Profession”. The event will feature a debate with a panel of guests including Lucy Scott-Moncrieff – Director of Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd and Chair of the Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Committee; David Johnston – CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation; Chris Topping – Partner at Broudie, Jackson & Canter, Simao Paxi-Cato – YLAL and Invictus Chambers and James Wakefield – Business Development Director, Kaplan Law School. The discussion will be chaired by journalist Raphael Rowe. The keynote speaker is Baroness Hale.
9 November 2013 12 noon:
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 6 The Friars, Canterbury
Kent Law Clinic are holding a public meeting on legal aid cuts and the impact. The event will be chaired by John Fitzpatrick, Professor of Law at Kent Law Clinic. Speakers include Kent Law Clinic, Justice Alliance and Refugee and Migrant community.