Research and Policy
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.
The Law Society has recently produced new tools designed to help law firms and in-house teams develop the capacity and strategic presence of pro bono work to improve access to justice and meet unmet legal needs. The Law Society launched it’s Pro Bono Charter in November 2016. The Charter is a statement of commitment that firms and in-house teams can endorse and is a public commitment to support pro bono. It offers a great opportunity to highlight your law firm or organisation’s pro bono work. By signing the Statement of Commitment, your law firm or organisation is demonstrating its commitment to improving access to justice for those individuals and organisations who have legal needs and are ineligible for legal aid and unable to afford to pay for legal services.
OpenJustice (hosted by OpenDemocracy) have recently published a series of articles focusing on the issues affecting people’s ability to seek a remedy through the courts: to stand up to bullies and protect themselves against the powerful. The series looks at why access to justice matters, the impact that the legal aid cuts have had and possible solutions to the access to justice crisis.
Dr Jane Krishnadas explains the foundations of CLOCK, The Community Legal Outreach Collaboration, Keele. CLOCK was formed as an umbrella of professional public, private and third sector organisations, to develop a new role ‘the Community Legal Companion’, premised upon the McKenzie Friend principles, to safeguard the litigant- in-person’s rights to assistance and access to legally-aided and affordable legal services, within the shared commitment to access to justice.
The Litigant in Person Judicial Engagement Group provides the HMCTS Reform Programme with views from the advice and pro bono sectors in the development of the HMCTS reform programme. Here is a summary of the Group's meeting held on 23rd November 2016.
The Lord Chancellor has announced that the LASPO review will commence shortly.
Citizenship Foundation’s latest blog explains the importance of triggering article 50 and why it is important for it to be explained in our schools.
The Litigant in Person Judicial Engagement Group provides the HMCTS Reform Programme with views from the advice and pro bono sectors in the development of the HMCTS reform programme. The Group covers the Civil, Family and Tribunal jurisdictions and is mindful of the increasing number of LIPs in criminal courts.
The Welsh Government has just published an Information and Advice Plan, working together with the National Advice Network and others. It sets out how they aspire to work together to improve access to the quality assured services which people need. Published December 2016.