Time For Justice: The Law is Broken
Following Early Day Motion 1111, which concerns the government's proposed Statutory Instrument (SI) on Criminal Legal Aid remuneration, we have secured a debate in the House of Commons on 8 May 2018.
We want all MPs to know about the crisis in the criminal justice system.
On the day of the debate, 8th May 2018, the Criminal Bar Association and Young Legal Aid Lawyers, supported by a broad coalition, comprising The Bar Council, Young Bar Committee, Criminal Law Solicitors Association and the Justice Alliance, will host a briefing event in the House of Commons: Time For Justice: The Law is Broken in Room 14, House of Commons Corridor between 5-6.30pm.
Angela Rafferty, Chair of the CBA and Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Vice Chair of YLAL and Justice First Fellow will join Baroness Helena Kennedy QC; Bob Neill MP, Chair of the Justice Select Committee; Karen Buck MP, Chair of APPG on Legal Aid; Richard Burgon MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor; Jon Black, Former Chair of LCCSA; Richard Atkins QC, VC of the Bar Council; and young legal aid lawyers to discuss the crisis in the criminal justice system.
This will launch the successful crowd finding campaign to provide MPs with a copy of a book by the Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it is Broken,and the YLAL Report on Social Mobility in a Time of Austerity.
It is critical that our elected representatives have a clear understanding of the crisis the Criminal Justice System is facing.
MPs will be invited to attend to collect their copies and discuss the crisis in our criminal justice system. We also encourage anyone interested to attend. If doing so please leave plenty of time to get through security.
We ask that you lobby your MP to attend the event, collect the books, consider the EDM and join the debate. A draft letter has been prepared but we urge all to consider personalising with stories of the law and how it is broken and your experiences of the criminal justice system including the sustainability of the profession, the action undertaken and the impact of the lack of investment.
There are currently 133 signatories to the EDM including MPs from the Labour, Green, SNP and Plaid Cymru parties.
Some suggested key points to make to your MP are:
- The rule of law and access to justice are fundamental to a healthy and functioning democratic society.
- Every aspect of the criminal justice system is under threat. The progress made on diversity is in grave danger, with profound consequences for public trust as the judiciary, professions and institutions cease to reflect the communities they serve
- Every week brings news of another criminal trial collapsing due to lack of adequate resources. The disclosure debacles are just one very high profile example of the damage being done to our once great system from chronic and deliberate lack of investment.
- In 2016 MPs were told by the Public Accounts Committee that the Criminal Justice System was at breaking point. After 20 years of successive cuts, the system is now broken.
- In planning more cuts, Ministers are making an unequivocal commitment to underfunding the legal system, and to refusing to provide a quality of justice that the public are entitled to expect.
- The criminal justice system is failing. The public are right to be alarmed. Action for justice is required.