Friday, July 29, 2011

Support Justice For All

One of the ways to fight the proposed cuts in legal aid (which was the topic we examined at our Discussion Meeting earlier this month) is to support and help the work of the "Justice For All" Campaign. To see what they are about and then to give them your support, see here.

You can also press your MP into giving them support. This is of particular importance as legislation which is currently before parliament is in need of radical change, if it is not going to create serious problems for many vulnerable people who are in need of the legal aid services, such as those services provided by Law Centres.

The role of the Campaign is explained in Early Day Motion 1194 which is currently before the Commons. Under the title Justice For All Campaign it states - "That this House welcomes the Justice for All campaign launched in the House of Commons on 12 January 2011; supports the aims of the campaign which are to raise awareness of the vital importance of advice and representation on legal matters for the most vulnerable in our society and to ensure that everyone is treated fairly under the law, no matter who they are, how much money they have or where they live; recognises that the strength of feeling is reflected in the fact that the campaign is a broad coalition of legal and advice agencies, trades unions, charities, community groups and members of the public; regrets that the reduction in spending on legal aid, through restrictions in scope and eligibility and the blanket 10 per cent. cut in the lower fee paid to providers of legal services, is having a detrimental effect on access to justice and on the well-being of the most vulnerable people; questions the real cost savings to the public purse that this budget reduction will achieve, given that early advice on legal matters saves money by keeping families together in their homes, and in work and education; believes that free, independent advice and representation on legal matters is essential to achieve justice for all; and calls on the Government to rethink the provision of legal services for the poorest in society."

The proposal is currently supported by 109 MPs. The political party make-up for this support is 83 Labour, 15 Lib-Dems, 3 Democratic Unionists, 3 SDLP, 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid Cymru and 1 Green. Their names can be found here. Names added who are Conservative and/or Liberal Democrat MPs will be greatly prized for they help break the Government's stranglehold on the current proposals. So it is a matter of how good you are at winning friends and influencing people.

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