Welcome to our update of the legal aid and access to justice news from June 2020.
"The principle that a person who is facing a life-changing judgment, and risks losing their freedom, has the right to have their case heard and judged by people representative of their community – of different ages, ethnicities and professional and educational backgrounds – is a fundamental aspect of the criminal justice system in England & Wales."
A new report by Young Legal Aid Lawyers (‘YLAL’), “A Sector at Breaking Point: Justice Denied for Victims of Trafficking”, confirms that there is a market failure in the asylum and immigration legal aid sector, with victims of trafficking often unable to access legally aided asylum and immigration advice and representation.
On 18 June 2020, Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) published its report on the impact of COVID-19 on law students. Students make up a sizeable proportion of YLAL’s membership and one of YLAL’s main focus areas is to encourage individuals to consider a career in legal aid. The report considers survey responses collected between 20 April and 5 May 2020. We received 138 responses from YLAL members who are students.
YLAL has engaged with the Ministry of Justice ('MoJ') Criminal Legal Aid Review ('CLAR') throughout the consultation process and has now responded to the consultation on the Accelerated Areas for criminal legal aid review.
You can read our response below.
Welcome to our update of the latest legal aid and access to justice news from May 2020.
Legal aid funding during Covid-19: On 4 May 2020, the Ministry of Justice (‘MoJ’) announced new government funding of £5.4 million to support the legal advice sector during the pandemic. Law Centres have seen an increase in demand for advice on social welfare issues, so this funding is aimed at mitigating the increase in costs of providing remote services.
Take Action to Protect Access to Justice for Asylum Seekers and Migrants
New legal aid rules will decimate access to justice for asylum seekers and migrants. These rules must be stopped. Please support YLAL's campaign against these rules and ask your MP to support a fatal motion in Parliament.
What is the issue?
YLAL member and Garden Court North pupil barrister Christian Weaver created this helpful explainer:
On Wednesday 27 May 2020, YLAL South West hosted a virtual meeting on wellbeing during COVID-19. The meeting was chaired by Emma Trevett (YLAL committee member, paralegal at Irwin Mitchell LLP and volunteer at Bristol Law Centre). The meeting began by discussing the key findings from YLAL’s second COVID-19 report.
The University of Law have announced that it is launching a Career Changer scholarship which will provide up to 10 full fee scholarships and 300 individual awards to support those whose job security has been impacted by COVID-19 and wish to re-train in law.
The scholarships will provide applicants with an opportunity to study a number of the University of Law's courses, including GDL or MA Law, LPC, BPC or LLM.