We would like to thank all the people and organizations who have supported the Justice Gap series – list below.

 

We are specially grateful to Richard Elsen and Gus Sellitto who run the Byfield Consultancy and its sister company the legal research specialist Jures. Thanks to the Solicitors Journal and its editor Jean-Yves Gilg, publisher John Tarry and sales manager Chris Handley for their continued support.

Closing the Justice Gap: new thinking on an old problem

Published: May 2010

Contributors were charged with the task of coming up with fresh ideas to improve access to justice for the poor and vulnerable in our society. They all had to sign up to basic principles (for example, access to justice is the right of each citizen…). Finally, they were also told ‘no point scoring, no complaining about fees’ and that all recommendations must be purely in the client interest

‘We need all the constructive ideas we can get. The book makes a valuable contribution.’ Michael Zander QC.

 

Contributors included:

  • Michael Zander QC
  • Michael Mansfield QC, founder of Tooks Chambers
  • Henry Bellingham MP, shadow minister for the Ministry of Justice
  • Roger Smith OBE, director of JUSTICE
  • Sir Geoffrey Bindman, founder of Bindmans LLP
  • Crispin Passmore, head of strategy at the Legal Services Board (writing in a personal capacity)
  • Laura Janes, Young Legal Aid Lawyers
  • David Harker, chief executive at Citizens Advice
  • Neil Kinsella, chief executive at Russell Jones & Walker
  • Tony Edwards, senior partner at TV Edwards
  • Jon Trigg, strategy director at A4e
  • Nick Green QC, chairman of the Bar Council 2010
  • Paul Mendelle QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association 2010
  • Steve Hynes, director of LAG and co-author of The Justice Gap
  • Jon Robins, co-author of The Justice Gap and editor of www.thejustice.gap.com

 

Pro Bono: good enough? The uneasy relationship between volunteer legal activity and access to justice

Published: November 2011

The central theme of Pro Bono: good enough? was to seek to address the relationship between pro bono and ‘access to justice’ – in particular, to explore what, in the past, has been regarded as a professional obligation to ensure that the more vulnerable members of society have the ability to enforce their legal rights – and to pose the question whether that obligation is being met by the pro bono movement.

 

Contributors included:

  • Lord Phillips of Sudbury
  • Sir Geoffrey Bindman, founder of Bindmans LLP
  • Michael Smyth, director of public policy at Clifford Chance
  • Roger Smith, director of JUSTICE
  • Paul Gilbert, trustee of LawWorks;
  • Andrew Holroyd, former Law Society president
  • Steve Hynes, director of Legal Action Group
  • Neil Kinsella, chief executive of Russell Jones & Walker
  • Lisa Wintersteiger, Advice Services Alliance
  • Atanas Politov, Public Interest Law Institute
  • Richard Grimes, York University
  • Yasmin Waljee, Lovells international Pro Bono Manager
  • Toby Brown, Access to Justice Foundation
  • Andrew Caplen, Law Society’s Access to Justice committee
  • Rebecca Hilsenrath, LawWorks chief executive
  • Crispin Passmore, legal strategy director at the Legal Services Board
  • Suzanne E. Turner, chair of Dechert’s firm-wide Pro Bono practice and Steven B. Scudder, committee counsel for the American Bar Association’s standing committee on pro bono and public service.

 

Unequal before the law? The future of legal aid

Published: June 2011

This features the findings of an independent ‘Commission of Inquiry into Legal Aid’, organised by the Young Legal Aid Lawyers and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.

The commission comprised:

  • Evan Harris, former Liberal Democrat MP;
  • Diana Holland, assistant general secretary of the trade union Unite; and
  • Reverend Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, until recently the canon of Westminster Abbey.

The idea was for three non-partisan and independent-minded experts, each with a long track record of promoting social justice, to consider the cases both for and against legal aid.

On February 2nd the Commission took part in a live session at the House of Commons and considered the testimony of ordinary people who had received help under the legal aid scheme including the victims of domestic abuse (such as ‘SH”), destitute asylum seekers, individuals with mental health problems and those who had experienced debt and homelessness. They considered evidence from groups such as Liberty and the Child Poverty Action Group as well as submissions from a wide range of organisations (the Ministry of Justice, Policy Exchange and The Adam Smith Institute).

Their purpose was to consider objectively, at a time of cuts to public spending including proposals to remove £350 million from the £2.1 billion legal aid budget (see over), the value of the safety net which our legal aid system provides for the ordinary people, sometimes poor and vulnerable, who rely upon it.

 

Wrongly accused: who is responsible for investigating miscarriages of justice?

Publication: January 2012

The arrival of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, as the independent watchdog to investigate miscarriages of Justice, led to the likes of JUSTICE withdrawing from case work out of deference for a newly created watchdog; investigative journalists have retreated from the field for a combination of reasons; now there are wide-spread concerns about the CCRC coming from the CCRC about problems with the budgets as well as deep concerns raised by campaigners, lawyers, families etc.

Contributors include:

  • Mr Justice Sweeney
  • Michael Mansfield QC
  • David Jessel, investigative journalist behind Rough Justice and Trial and Error and former commissioner at the CCRC
  • Alastair McGregor QC, deputy chair Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Michael Naughton, senior law lecturer at Bristol University and founder of the Innocence Network
  • Campbell Malone, Stefan Kisko’s lawyer and chair of the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association
  • Ralph Barrington, retried from the Criminal Cases Review Commission as their investigations adviser and before that was head of Essex CID
  • Hannah Quirk Phd, lecturer in criminal law and justice at Manchester University
  • Dr Angus Nurse, senior research fellow at Lincoln University
  • Louise Shorter, journalist (Rough Justice) and running Inside Justice (a miscarriage project run with Inside Time)
  • Alex Bailin QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Sam Poyser, senior lecturer in applied criminology and policing at Cantervury Christ Church University
  • Maslen Merchant, a legal executive with Hadgkiss Hughes and Beale Solicitors in Birmingham with over twenty years’ experience in criminal law and whop specialises in serious crime and miscarriage of justice work
  • Vera Baird QC, former Solicitor-General
  • Matt Evans, solicitor manager of the Prisoners Advice Service
  • Glyn Maddocks, a solicitor who specializes in miscarriage work at Gabb & Co
  • Laura Janes, solicitor for children at the Howard League for Penal Reform
  • John Cooper QC, 25 Bedford Row

 

Public Legal Education

Publication date: Late 2011

This collection of essays looks at the role of public legal education, a term that applies to the disparate collection of activities that provides ordinary people with an awareness and understanding of their rights together with the confidence and skill to assert them if needed.

So much of the debate around ‘access to justice’ is focused on the final stages of the process where things have gone so badly wrong that a lawyer is needed. But ‘access to justice’ is not just about the ability of lawyers to bring cases on behalf of their clients. And it’s not just about legal aid. Our contention that PLE has been strikingly absent from the debate around ‘access to justice’ in general.

‘We finish with a challenge. It’s time for the profession to come behind PLE. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect lawyers to put their considerable weight behind the range of PLE initiatives – to support the online provision of information to the public and get involved in work in schools and community education to ensure that ordinary people better prepared to deal with law-related issues of everyday life.’

 

Contributors included:

  • Martin Jones and Lisa Wintersteiger, Advice Service Alliance
  • Nigel J. Balmer, reader in law and social statistics, University College London and principal researcher at the Legal Services Research Centre
  • Pascoe Pleasence, professor of empirical legal studies, University College London, and academic and scientific advisor at the Legal Services Research Centre.
  • Catrina Denvir, researcher at the Legal Services Research Centre.
  • Professor Stephen Mayson, director of the College of Law’s Legal Services Institute
  • Crispin Passmore, strategy director at Legal Services Board
  • Lewis Parle, programme director at the IARS (Independent Academic Research Service)
  • Laura Janes, solicitor for children at the Howard League for Penal Reform
  • Michael Smyth CBE (with Tom Dunn, Clifford Chance’s pro bono director)
  • Paul Gilbert, chief executive of LBC Wise Counsel
  • Dr Angus Nurse, senior research fellow at Lincoln University
  • Jeff Giddings, Merran Lawler and Michael Robertson
  • Molly Kearney and Ruth Dwight, Citizenship Foundation
  • Chris Peel, director of legal and advice services at A4e
  • Richard Cohen, solicitor, executive chairman and group counsel Epoq
  • Mary Webber, Advice Services Alliance’s Advice Now project

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