Rachel Braverman introduces the work of Money and Mental Health, a charity committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems.
RCJ Advice, one of the LIP Support Strategy Partners, has been funded by the latest round of the Tampon Tax Fund to expand access to legal advice for women experiencing domestic abuse through the provision of phone and email consultancy advice, digital tools, and an online forum for the front line workers who assist women. Alison Lamb, Chief Executive at RCJ Advice, provides an introduction to the project.
On 23rd April we arranged a free one day workshop on working with distressed Litigants in Person. Over 90 people registered to attend but unfortunately others were unable to join us as the event was oversubscribed. Given the high level of interest, we have provided an update on the workshop below together with next steps to ensure everyone in the LIP Network is informed about our work.
The first virtual court case has been held with a claimant appearing via a home laptop camera, while a judge sat in London and lawyers appeared from Belfast.
Nationwide survey of debt advisers looking to inform policy-making and develop new solutions
A Multimedia project for Roma parents delivered by Law for Life in Derby, Rotherham and London
(Author: Jill Canvin, analogue.DIGITAL) No more carrier bags of documents for you to sort out! OnRecord is designed to help litigants in person to help themselves and for you to help them more easily.
Gateshead Enterprises - the Community Interest Company funding and supporting Citizens Advice Gateshead
(Author: Vikkie Wilkinson, Development Manager at Gateshead Enterprises) In 2012 the Trustee Board of Citizens Advice Gateshead were facing some huge challenges – as one of the biggest Community Law Advice Centres in England the reform of Legal Aid meant the loss of 60 staff and some £3 million income for the organisation alongside the huge impact to the local community.
Roger Smith has produced a report, commissioned by The Legal Education Foundation (TLEF), entitled "Digital Delivery of Legal Services to People on Low Incomes". TLEF Chairman, Guy Beringer, says "We hope that the Report will stimulate others to let us know of advances that they are making or are aware of others making in this important area of using information technology to provide low cost legal service to people. These developments are not a magic bullet but taken together they can make a difference to the lives of a lot of people. We intend to update the Report on an annual basis as a record of developments in the provision of IT based legal service.”
LiPSS and the Network have recently launched a working party on mental health and vulnerability. After an initial meeting in 2017, it became apparent that there is a desire in the sector for training relating to vulnerable clients and those with mental health issues. In particular, training relating to one-off client meetings (for example, meeting an LiP for the first time on the day of their court hearing).
Earlier this year, Hastings-based seAp won the 2017 Charity Times Award for their ground-breaking online web app which enables people across England and Scotland to access their expertise digitally. The organisation, which provides advocacy for people needing help to access their rights, beat seven other organisations – including the National Trust and Age UK – to win the award for the best use of technology.
(Author: Hugh McFaul, Open Justice) Reminiscent of the tag line for a well-known Dutch beer, The Open University prides itself on teaching students that other higher education institutions may struggle to reach. A clear example is The OU’s longstanding partnership with the UK prisons; studying for an OU degree is often the only realistic path to a degree for serving prisoners. Students who have completed degrees in prison testify to the positive impact this can have on their life inside, as well as post release, and the OU graduation ceremonies held within prisons are particularly inspirational.
(21st September 2017) Since Glasgow Drug Court opened its doors in 2001, problem-solving has become a recognised part of the Scottish justice system. But the Angiolini commission’s 2012 support for the approach, has launched a new wave of problem-solving courts which adapt models to meet local challenges. The briefing explores the history of three of Scotland’s newest problem-solving courts: The Aberdeen Problem-Solving Approach, Forfar Problem-Solving Court and Edinburgh Alcohol Problem-Solving Court.
Following the “Transforming our justice system” White Paper in September 2016, plans for a new Online Court are underway. HMCTS’ reform programme aims to streamline a number of different services online and provide more accessible ways for non-lawyers to commence and respond to claims. Moving proceedings online will especially impact the civil courts, where the number of litigants in person has risen sharply.
(Author: Toby Brown, barrister at South Square chambers and trustee at the Access to Justice Foundation) Many of you reading this will be aware of pro bono costs. But for those who don’t know, pro bono costs are the equivalent of normal legal costs, yet are available when the winning party was assisted by free of charge legal representation. Under section 194 of the Legal Services Act 2007 the losing party pays the equivalent sum of costs to the Access to Justice Foundation. The Foundation then distributes the funds to support organisations that provide free legal help to those in need. So the scheme levels the playing field for pro bono assisted parties in terms of costs risks and therefore can help parties settle, and produces extra money for justice. But why then are we not getting more pro bono costs?
Ellen Taylor, from Derbyshire Law Centre, explains their plans to use funding, provided by the Ministry of Justice through the Litigant in Person Support Strategy, to develop their Lip Service.
Blog from Penelope Gibbs on observing a virtual court in which defendants all appear on video and everyone else is in the courtroom.
(Author: Lucy Reed, Barrister) The Transparency Project is an educational charity whose aims are to improve public understanding of family law and the family court system. In October 2016 we formally launched our Family Court Reporting Watch project, funded by the Legal Education Foundation, building upon our established blogging on the topic of family law.
Author: Emily MacLoud, Head of Casework, The Bar Pro Bono Unit. This year the Bar Pro Bono Unit is taking our service online. Along with HMCTS, ACAS and other agencies, we have created an accessible digital platform, which we hope will make our application process simpler and quicker for applicants, frontline agencies and volunteering barristers.