Research and Policy
(December 2017) Please click here to see a specially prepared updated from HMCTS on their £1bn reform programme. In this update, HMCTS have set out by jurisdiction some of the key things they have already done and some of the things you can expect to see over the next 18 months.
(Author: Richard Grimes, Editorial Board member, International Journal of Public Legal Education) Access to justice is not just about being able to find and afford a lawyer. Being aware of rights (and responsibilities) is an important component of the A2J debate. Legal literacy is vitally important both in terms of recognising problems and knowing what to do and where to go.
(Richard Silver, Consumer Affairs Policy Officer, Solicitors Regulation Authority) The SRA have recently published a new consultation which we are hoping will herald some big changes in the solicitor world, and make all the difference to people when they have legal problems and need help. (open for comment until 20 December).
Trust for London’s 2017 edition of the London Poverty Profile has been released and its’ website has been re-vamped so that all of the latest data on poverty and inequality in London can be found in an easy and readable form. This may be useful for agencies making funding applications. KEY FINDINGS: 27% of Londoners are living in poverty (after housing costs); 50% of London's wealth is owned by the top 10%. 58% of Londoners in poverty live in a working family. This is a 50% increase over the last decade.
(Author Lizzie Irons, Head of Service, the Personal Support Unit) As we head into the autumn, we are taking stock, with each PSU writing a progress report for April to September 2017. The most surprising news is not the overall increase in client contacts over the period, but the fact that for over a third of our services (8 of 21) recorded client contacts peaked in August, reaching the highest client contact figures to date. Gone are the days when the summer represented a dip in workload and a short breathing space.
(22nd September 2017) Our criminal justice system is fiercesomely complicated – so complex that the Law Commission has proposed a massive simplification of criminal law...Read more.
(Author: Ella Playfair, National Pro Bono Week Committee) The dates of this year’s NPBW are confirmed as Monday 6 – Saturday 11 November, and for the first time we have added spotlights on the themes of health and education issues and how they interrelate with pro bono.
LawWorks have been working with stakeholders and partners to present compelling evidence to the new Justice Select Committee as part of the overall review process considering legal aid reforms. The stakeholder group has included Advice UK, the Advice Services Alliance, Coram Children's Legal Centre, Mind, JustRights, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Law Centres Network, the Legal Action Group, London Legal Support Trust, the Personal Support Unit, Youth Access, the Bar Council, and the Immigration Practitioners Group.
(September 2017) The Legal Action Group have published a summary of The UK government’s position on migration post-Brexit as set out in its policy paper.
Universal Credit is the biggest change ever made to the benefits system. By 2022, more than 7 million households will be receiving it, over half of whom will be in work. The aim of Universal Credit - to simplify the benefit system - is right. But it is currently failing too many people and forcing many into debt. Universal Credit is currently being rolled out across the country, but this process is set to accelerate from October 2017. Citizens Advice has already helped 47,000 people with Universal Credit and our evidence reveals a number of problems which need to be addressed. If roll-out is not paused to allow this to happen, 7 million households face financial risk. Summary & full report available here.
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.
UKAJI Research Roadmap – where have we been and where do we need to go with research on administrative justice?
Since starting work nearly three years ago, UKAJI’s primary tasks have been to bring together researchers, research users, policy makers, practitioners, and others to encourage more empirically based research into administrative justice and to design an agenda for future research. This blog post summarises their consultation paper, which results from that engagement. Responses to the consultation will contribute to the research roadmap they will propose for future research needs in administrative justice.
(Author: Margaret Doyle, Senior Research Fellow, UK Administrative Justice Institute) ‘What is administrative justice?’ is one of the pages on UKAJI’s website most viewed by visitors. Does this suggest that readers don’t know what it means, or is it simply difficult to define?
Update from TechCrunch on the latest development of DoNotPay which includes a brief video showing how it works.
A new report from The Law Society, four years after LASPO, which includes 25 recommendations to government.
Blog from Penelope Gibbs on observing a virtual court in which defendants all appear on video and everyone else is in the courtroom.
James Sandbach looks at the trend in money claims, based on data compiled for the Ministry of Justice by the Registry Trust
An initiative of TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono service, the Index shows the amount of pro bono being done globally by law firms on a country-by-country basis.
Author: James Sandbach, Director of Policy and External Affairs, LawWorks. "About a month ago I was privileged to have a sneak preview of the “Beta” sites that HMCTS officials have been working as part of the Court modernisation programme to digitise much of the court process and administration. Justice Minister Oliver Heald brought officials along to the House of Commons for a private briefing of MPs, as the Prisons and Courts Bill was about to be launched in Parliament. Despite having been involved in much of the discussion about “Online Courts” since the Briggs Review and the subsequent Ministry of Justice paper on “Transforming our Justice System,” I wasn’t quite clear what to expect, but after the preliminaries about customer journeys and the political words about improving the justice system for everyone, we finally saw a demonstration of what the new processes will look like.