In a speech made recently Andrew Caplin, the recently installed President of the Law Society, announced a new campaign which aims to highlight the increasing difficulties faced by people who find themselves needing to take legal action.
The Access to Justice campaign was introduced with three core aims:
- To raise public awareness of lawyer-aided access to justice issues
- To persuade policy-makers to to consider legislative changes, particularly in relation to the provisions of both parts one and two of LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act)
- To explore innovative ways that lawyers can utilise in order to make services more accessible to the public
As lawyers, we’re well aware that many people still see us as mostly stuffy, dark suited men in dusty wigs, arguing in Latin in court for long enough to make sure the next Bentley is paid for. Hopefully one look through our website would dispel that (although for anyone browsing our site, there may be a prize for anyone wishing to enter our “Spot the wig” competition), but we are still wanting to hear from people about how you would like us to help you.
Around 600,000 people are estimated to have lost access to a lawyer in the 18 months since changes to Legal Aid were made and that number is only going to rise further unless the next Government addresses it. These people’s problems are not just going away and while some can be solved in other ways, many get worse from people struggling to cope with the stress and complexity of going to court without legal advice.
A lot of the work we do is for people who never thought they would need a Solicitor until something happened to them. Unlike other professions like dentists, doctors or financial advisors, very few people have regular check-ups or assessments with lawyers but with the reductions in Legal Aid a safety net has been removed for many and a little knowledge in advance can help deal with unexpected problems in future.
So in connection with the Law Society campaign, if you’d be interested in attending a talk on what help is still available for people who need it under Legal Aid, or if you’re part of an organisation in the Leeds area and would like someone to come in and talk to you and your colleagues about this topic, please get in touch with us HERE and we can look to arrange something with you.