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. 

YLAL staunchly supports the proper funding of our criminal justice system, regardless of the crimes of which a person has been accused. Justice necessarily includes everyone – we cannot withhold legal aid from a person simply because we consider the actions of which they are accused to be heinous. To do so would undermine the entire basis of our criminal justice system, particularly the central principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty. 

YLAL wholeheartedly supports the solicitors acting for Jack Shepherd, who have done nothing more than comply with their professional obligations to act in the best interests of their client in lodging an appeal, and thereby uphold the core principles of our criminal justice system.

Read our full statement below.