Friday, 5 July 2013

People power defeats government over legal aid lawyers

Great news! 38 degree  won the campaign to stop justice secretary Chris Grayling from taking away people's right to choose a lawyer when on legal aid! If Grayling’s plans had gone ahead, people would be represented based on price and not choice. [1]

One Wednesday he confirmed this change in parliament, saying he expected to make changes that would allow a choice of lawyer in the future. [2] This comes after months of campaigning from 38 Degrees, Citizens Advice Bureau, Liberty, the Bar Council and more, to get the justice department to drop these plans.

Since the campaign started in May, people power has worked hard to stop these cuts. A 38 Degrees petition of 50,000 signatures was handed in at a justice department event to raucous applause from the audience. [3] And over 10,000 38 Degrees members wrote in to the consultation, telling the justice department exactly why the proposals were so bad.

Yesterday was a good day for the UK’s legal system. But there is more we need to do. There are still worries that new 'residents tests' plans will stop homeless children and victims of human trafficking from receiving legal aid. [4] The justice minister has shown he’s determined to cut our legal system, we need to be ready to step up the pressure on future proposed cuts.

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