We are collaborating with the Justice Alliance to raise funds for a special issue of Proof magazine featuring the best, original and most exciting writing about access to justice.
Our crowd-funding campaign has just gone live – here.
Help us make it happen.
Our magazine will be aimed at the public and will explain why legal aid matters and why we all need to fight NOW for properly public funded access to justice.
The Justice Alliance is a coalition of legal organisations, charities, community groups, grass roots and other campaigning groups, fighting to save legal aid and promote access to justice.
They played a leading role (alongside the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and the London Criminal Court Solicitors Association) in persuading the justice secretary Michael Gove to drop plans for a tender for criminal defence lawyers which would have seen hundreds of specialist firms go to the wall. The Lord Chancellor was also forced to scrap what would have been a devastating second 8.75% fee cut.
So we can make a difference.
An attack on justice
The Justice Gap is an online magazine about the law and justice aimed at the public and run by journalists. The site was set up in October 2011 as the Legal Aid Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act was going through Parliament threatening to devastate the legal aid scheme. (Read the first ever Justice Gap article: ‘Access to justice’: what the @%!? does that mean?)
The so-called LASPO cuts came into force in April 2013 – removing publicly funded legal advice and representation for much of social welfare law (employment, welfare law, housing, and immigration) and family. They represented the biggest attack on legal aid since it was introduced by the Attlee government after the second world war.
The cuts have had a devastating impact on on ordinary people, the poor and vulnerable to have proper, meaningful access to justice.
The Justice Alliance was established shortly after the so-called LASPO cuts came in, as the Coalition government threatened major reforms of the criminal defence sector which would have decimated the sector (plus a 17.5% fee cut).
A key part of the Justice Alliance strategy is to reach out to ordinary people and explain what real access to justice means and why we need to fight now. Proof will be a way of kick–starting an important debate.
We are crowdfunding through the new CrowdJustice site to cover some production costs. The Proof team is putting this together pro bono – and we already have some brilliant contributors lined up. To make this happen, we need to cover (i) design costs; (ii) to pay for the journalist Rebecca Ominora-Oyekanmi to report from the frontline about the impact of the April 2013 cuts; (iii) and to cover the the costs of the print run.
This will be issue 3 of Proof. The first issue (Justice in a time of Moral Panic) came out at the beginning of the year – you can read more here. Issue 2 (provisionally titled Hidden: the limits of open justice) is due out later in the year.
Proof contributors include prominent lawyers – for example, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders and Michael Mansfield QC – through to journalists including Bob Woffinden, David James Smith (Sunday Times), David Jessel (Rough Justice, Trial & Error); David Rose (Mail on Sunday, Vanity Fair); and Eric Allison (Guardian); academics and campaigners.
Thanks for your support.
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon's books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council's journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year's Criminal Justice Alliance's journalism award