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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.

In order to make access to justice effective and equal, legal aid must be available to all – subject to appropriate financial means tests – irrespective of any crimes of which they are accused. This is particularly important in cases such as this, where a British citizen has had her citizenship revoked by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid.

Stripping a person of their citizenship is one of the most drastic steps that any government can take against its citizens. It is vital that a citizen has the right to challenge that decision in court, and that they should be granted public funding for legal representation where they are unable to afford it themselves.

Read our full statement below.

 

Quick, Dirty but Important: YLAL's Research into unmet legal need at Court


Concerned by anecdotal evidence from its members about increasing numbers of litigants in person struggling in the County and Magistrates’ courts, and frustrated by the lack of any research into the impact on clients of the first tranche of the most recent changes to legal aid, Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) has conducted its own study of court users.


YLAL Survey on Paralegals in legal aid: a growing and unhealthy dependency?

Paralegals are being exploited and underpaid, according to a survey of members conducted by Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL). Respondents also raised concerns about lack of training, poor working conditions, uncertain career progression and the implications of Lord Carter’s proposed pyramid model.

YLAL has called on the Law Society and the Legal Services Commission to take firm action to ensure that the sustainability of legal aid is not jeopardised as legal aid firms become more reliant on the use of paralegals to survive.

YLAL Survey on Paralegals in legal aid: a growing and unhealthy dependency?

Paralegals are being exploited and underpaid, according to a survey of members conducted by Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL). Respondents also raised concerns about lack of training, poor working conditions, uncertain career progression and the implications of Lord Carter’s proposed pyramid model.

YLAL has called on the Law Society and the Legal Services Commission to take firm action to ensure that the sustainability of legal aid is not jeopardised as legal aid firms become more reliant on the use of paralegals to survive.