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Brexit, Human Rights and Access to Justice - YLAL Midlands event on 9 May 2019

On Thursday 9 May 2019, YLAL Midlands hosted an event on Brexit, Human Rights and Access to Justice at the Irwin Mitchell office in Birmingham.

YLAL co-chair Oliver Carter introduced the event and gave a presentation on key Brexit-related litigation, including the Miller, Wightman and Wilson cases, and the possible impact of leaving that leaving the European Union will have on human rights and access to justice in the UK. Ollie's slides are attached at the bottom of this page.

We were delighted to be joined by Dr Marianne Wade, reader in criminal justice at Birmingham Law School, Director of the Institute of Judicial Administration and Co-Director (Law) of the Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing. Dr Wade spoke primarily about co-operation within the EU in relation to criminal justice, and what could change after Brexit. 

Dr Wade started by discussing the foundation of the EU as a means of binding France and Germany together and reducing the risk of future conflict following the Second World War. Dr Wade explained that this developed into a political union. In relation to criminal justice and counter-terrorism, Dr Wade identified the 9/11 attacks as a turning point, following which the European Arrest Warrant was introduced in 2002.

Dr Wade also spoke about police and judicial co-operation within the  EU, explaining that we don't yet know how Brexit will affect the UK's co-operation with EU member states in these areas. The UK government published a White Ppaer saying that a multilateral treaty after Brexit should "build on" the rights we have, although the focus of the government appears to be on 'liberty-restricting' measures rather than 'liberty-protecting' measures.

Dr Wade pointed to recent events which call into question the government's commitment to the rule of law, including Windrush, the 'deport first, appeal later' provisions, and the Home Office claims of widespread cheating on English tests. The government's stance appears to be that human rights standards are something to be negotiated and reduced, and this may not bode well for human rights and access to justice after Brexit.

After Dr Wade's talk, there was a lively question and answer session which covered issues such as the Northern Irish border and the rights of EU migrants after Brexit.

YLAL Midlands would like to thank everyone for joining us!

Statement on legal aid for Shamima Begum

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) notes the media reports stating that legal aid funding will be granted to Shamima Begum, the Bethnal Green schoolgirl who travelled to Syria to join ISIS at the age of 15.

YLAL staunchly believes that public funding should be available to all those who cannot afford to pay for their own legal advice and representation. Access to justice is a fundamental human right, and a crucial component of the rule of law in our democratic society.

Statement on LASPO review delay

Justice delayed is justice denied: YLAL expresses concern about LASPO review delay

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) is disappointed at the continuing delay in the publication of the post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) by the Ministry of Justice.

Statement on legal aid for criminal appeals

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) notes the on-going media coverage concerning the case of Jack Shepherd, and in particular the criticism of the way in which criminal appeals are funded. YLAL believes that legal aid should be available at all stages of the criminal justice system, including trial and appeal. Justice may only be done if individuals are properly represented throughout the process of criminal proceedings, including before appeal courts.