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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!

SRA Consultation Response

On 20 December 2017, YLAL responded to the latest consultation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on its plans to introduce a Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

The consultation, 'Looking to the future: phase two of our Handbook reforms', concerns a number of issues, including the introduction of the SQE and the streamlining of the SRA’s current character and suitability requirements for solicitors. 

You can read our response to this consultation below.


APPG on Legal Aid - 25.10.2017

Grenfell Tower: Fire and Safety issues in social housing

Minutes of the meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Legal Aid, Wednesday 25 October 2017

Speakers: Giles Peaker (Partner, Anthony Gold), Justin Bates (Barrister, Arden Chambers), and Andrew Patterson (representing the Government’s review of building regulations and fire safety)

Parliamentarians: Karen Buck MP (Chair), Lord Jeremy Beecham, Alex Chalk MP, Emma Dent Coad MP, Andy Slaughter MP

YLAL South West minutes - 12.10.2017

Our latest event, Access to Justice Under Attack: Brexit, Charlie Gard and the Rule of Law was held on 12 October 2017 at Bristol Law Society. It took the form of a panel event and was chaired by Helen Law from Matrix Chambers, who did a fantastic job of tying together the key themes arising from the four talks, which all came at the issues from a different angle but demonstrated the inherent injustices in the current system.

YLAL writes for Legal Voice

YLAL's vice-chair Siobhan Taylor-Ward writes for YLAL's series in Legal Voice; This (young legal aid) life

"I have been asked by the Home office to provide the client with the decision as she has been referred for safeguarding. I break the news that her claim has been refused. Her face crumples in tears. The baby in the pram beside her knows enough to place her tiny hand upon her mum’s knee.

"She tells me her baby died in Africa — it was cot death — her claim stems from this one incident and its repercussions.