Post by Patrick Torsney on Jun 2, 2011 8:57:29 GMT
It may be useful for us to collect all the media coverage of the Day of Action tomorrow - both local and national - I have a couple of ideas how we can use it afterwards
It would be a great help if people could reply to this thread from today with any coverage - whether on TV, newspapers or online. Then we've got it in one place and it will make it easier to collate and work with
If TV, please include a link to any iPlayer source or feel free to film it and send me the file. If newspapers, it would be great if people could scan any articles in and email them to me, both local and national
I'm also interested in any film footage that anyone manages to get of any of the events and pictures too - please let me know if anyone gets any, it would be good for us to share it as widely as possible
I'll update as and when I can - got to get back to the other job now...
Migrant's Rights Network - Day of Action for Justice: Friday 3rd of June A day of action for Justice has been organised by the Justice for All Campaign this Friday. There will be local actions throughout the country and other ways of taking part. We urge all to add their voices to highlight the importance of good and accessible legal advice and representation.
At lunchtime on Friday, June 3rd, workers and service users from a variety of Advice and Legal Support agencies across the city will join Jack Dromey MP to lead a silent procession from Birmingham Law Courts to the Council House, symbolizing the stifled voices of the thousands of people who will be denied representation as a consequence of the Government’s proposed cuts to legal aid services.
" Legal aid cuts 'leave domestic violence victims without help'Day of action organised by Justice for All protests against government cost-saving plans which 'target the most vulnerable'
Share Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent guardian.co.uk, Friday 3 June 2011 13.37 BST Article history
The legal aid cuts mean 'women leaving violent relationships will no longer be able to obtain help'. Photograph: Garry Weaser In East Ham, they formed an orderly queue. In Gloucester, protesters gagged their mouths. Outside the Supreme Court of Justice in Westminster, the Women's Institute stood in silence.
A day of action organised by the Justice for All campaign against government plans to carve £350m out of the annual legal aid budget and control access to the courts is being staged across the country.
Details of the Ministry of Justice's final proposals and a draft bill on the cost-saving reforms are due to published this month, possibly as early as next week.
The MoJ's own impact assessment study suggest that 500,000 fewer cases a year will be entitled to funding under the plans, while the Legal Action Group estimates that as many as 650,000 will removed from access to legal aid.
Opponents of the bill claim the most vulnerable will be targeted. Women will no longer be able to obtain legal help for many of the issues associated with leaving a violent relationship, according to the National Federation of Women's Institutes.
Ruth Bond, chair of the organisation, said: "The proposals on reforming legal aid risk fundamentally undermining the justice system. We are particularly concerned about the impact on women who have experienced domestic violence."
One of the more controversial Ministry of Justice proposals is for legal aid to be available in family cases only where there are allegations of physical violence. Many fear this will create a perverse incentive for false claims, making divorces even more embittered.
Other groups who taped their mouths shut outside the supreme court to symbolise their exclusion from justice included the Fawcett Society, Refuge, Women's Resource Centre, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Women's Aid England and Rights of Women.
The Justice for All campaign is an alliance of over 3,000 organisations and members. Gayle Emerson, of the Citizens Advice Bureau, said: "The response to the government's consultation has been overwhelming. People are concerned about the cuts. This is so damaging. It will make it more difficult for women to leave violent partners."
Caroline Lucas MP, leader of the Green party, said: "Reducing legal aid will increase the hardship of many as well as proving to be a false economy
"If people do not get the help they need at an early stage, their problems will worsen. Their problems become more difficult to solve, and that increases demand on other public services, such as health and social care. The worst-off will be hit hardest by these changes. "
The Labour MP Stephen Timms organised what he described as a "very British protest" against the cuts: an orderly queue symbolising how "legal aid cuts will leave vulnerable people with nowhere to turn for help but their MP".
In Gloucester, Birmingham and other cities there were silent, gagged marches by protesters. "Thousands of desperate people across Coventry would be silenced by these cuts," said Sue Bent from Coventry Law Centre. "Over 8,000 vulnerable people come to us every year to get fair treatment at work, safe shelter, manage their debts and support their families while they seek work. Where will they go now?"
Steve Woodcock from St Paul's Advice Centre in Bristol, said: "The proposals will reduce access to justice for many individuals and families who are more likely to face injustice due to discrimination and poverty. This government seems determined to increase the gap between those that have and those that don't."
John Cooper QC said: "I've seen how vital legal aid is to assist the most vulnerable. Though it's there to protect people who find themselves in criminal courts, it's equally important to safeguard those who find themselves fighting for the welfare of children or disabled people. It truly is the national health service of the legal system."
The Ministry of Justice has defended its plans on the grounds of necessary savings. "At more than £2bn a year, we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world," a spokesman said.
"The current system encourages lengthy, acrimonious and sometimes unnecessary court proceedings, at tax payers' expense, which do not always ensure the best result for those involved.
"We need to make clear choices to ensure that legal aid will continue to be available in those cases that really require it, the protection of the most vulnerable in society, and the efficient performance of the justice system.
"Our proposals aim to radically reform the system and encourage people to take advantage of the most appropriate sources of help, advice or routes to resolution – which will not always involve the expense of lawyers or courts."