Post by StephenMichael on Feb 11, 2011 9:46:12 GMT
For those who have not received an email from the J4A campaign, here's a copy.
This February 14th we're asking you to send a very special valentine, to Justice Minister Ken Clarke. No, we're not asking you to tell him you love him; just that you love legal aid. Valentine's Day marks the end of a government consultation on proposals to cut legal aid which will mean over half a million fewer people would get the advice they need – advice which can keep families together, in their homes, and in work and education. We need to make sure the Government hears from as many people as possible so they know how much people care about legal aid advice. We think that everyone should have the same access to justice, no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they have. Please be part of the Justice for All campaign, and send our Valentine's e–card to Ken Clarke now
Post by Patrick Torsney on Feb 14, 2011 12:10:13 GMT
Here's the press release from JfA - looks like there's going to be a photo opportunity outside the MoJ by the looks of things. We'll update if so
Ken Clarke gets thousands of Valentine’s cards – from lovers of legal aid
Thousands of people sent Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, a Valentine’s Day card today telling him of their love for legal aid and their concern for half a million people who would be left without access to justice by proposed cuts.
Today at 12 noon campaigners will hand in the cards at the Ministry of Justice, marking the end of the department’s consultation on legal aid cuts which would leave the UK’s poorest people defenceless against unscrupulous landlords, abusive bosses and violent partners.
Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder and director of Kids Company, said: Britain is the bottom of the league of the 21 richest countries in the world for the wellbeing of children. Many are struggling to receive help. Legal Aid was the only assurance these children had for care to be delivered to them. As one boy said when we won a case in his favour against a social work department: "the Queen is on my side". It would be so sad if Legal Aid was not there to ensure vulnerable children are protected.
The campaign to defend free legal advice, Justice for All, has snowballed in recent weeks:
• Over 2,200 organisations and individuals have joined the campaign including the charities Kids Company, Liberty and Shelter. • 83 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion tabled in support of the campaign.
Debbie, a mother who was helped by legal aid, said:
"I don't know where we'd be without Shelter's help, funded by legal aid. I certainly wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in with my little girl. We wouldn't be safe, we wouldn't be re-housed, my daughter's education and future would have been destroyed because of the harassment."
Keith Best, CEO of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, said:
“Torture survivors seeking a safe haven in the UK need access to specialist legal providers experienced in dealing with their complex protection claims. Legal aid cuts threaten to leave survivors vulnerable to a risk of return to persecution if they can’t get the representation they need.”
The Ministry of Justice wants to cut the 2.5 per cent of the legal aid budget which helps defend the UK’s poorest families against unfair dismissal, destitution and exclusion from school.
• The cuts target the most vulnerable. 98 per cent of people who get legal aid are from poor backgrounds. The Ministry of Justice’s own impact assessment acknowledges this. • The cuts will disproportionately hit voluntary organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres who will lose 77 per cent of their legal aid income, and could lead to the closure of over 1500 private firms who deliver legal aid work. • The cuts would mean people don’t get early advice on their problems. Early advice can save the public purse up to £10 for every £1 invested.
Post by Patrick Torsney on Feb 28, 2011 14:34:29 GMT
It seems I'm not the only consultant pulling his (or her) finger out to try and save legal aid. My old mate David at DG Legal got in touch over the weekend to ask if I minded flagging up the latest thing Justice for All are doing
What they're doing is write to each and every MP trying to get some simple responses to four questions about the effect that MPs envisage the reforms, should they go ahead, will have on them and their workload
The difficulty is that MPs are not in any way obliged to respond to non-constituents so we need to encourage all of you to contact your MPs yourselves and ask them to respond to the survey
Your MP will have received a copy of the survey and covering letter this morning and also an email
Justice for All and your networks are likely to be contacting you about this also
I've attached a copy of the survey here for info and the text of the email is below so you know what has already been asked of your MP:
I am a Management Consultant specialising in advising and assisting organisations in the legal aid sector and have been commissioned by Justice for All www.justice-for-all.org.uk to undertake a brief survey in order to measure the impact that the proposed legal aid reforms may have on Members of Parliament and in particular, their casework. Justice for All is the campaign to ensure everyone is treated fairly under the law, no matter who they are, how much money they have or where they live.
I have attached a letter explaining the background to this study together with a brief questionnaire which I hope you will be able to complete. It is a one page survey consisting of only four questions. We have taken the decision to send the letter and questionnaire to MPs by e-mail and also by post. We did not want to unnecessarily add further correspondence to MPs incoming mail but felt that this option may actually be of convenience to MPs. Firstly, not all MPs choose to have an email address and we considered that they may perhaps prefer to respond by postal correspondence. Secondly, we thought we would give MPs as much choice as possible in the manner in which they could respond and so have attached a soft copy of the questionnaire which can completed on-screen and returned to us quickly by e-mail.
The results of the survey will be invaluable to our research. If you are minded to respond, we would be enormously grateful if you could do so by 14 March 2011.
There are three ways in which you may return the questionnaire to us as follows:
(i) By email to email@example.com (ii) By fax to DG Legal, 01664 823656 (iii) By post to DG Legal, Debdale Hill House, Debdale Hill, Old Dalby, Leics. LE14 3LF.
Good idea and hope it works - just don't expect a helpful response from our MP (see my Friday post in Judges Attack Legal Aid Cuts). The next thing I'm working on is trying to get a notice of motion put down in our Council as per the Bristol Lib Dem one - I'd urge everyone to try to find a sympathetic local councillor to do this as it should generate a lot of publicity even if its not supported.
That's great annew-perhaps your local paper and/or TV station might also be interested-they usually are if you can persuade a client to speak to them-some will. Could try getting them down to your offices. That's likely to get an MP to notice it.
This has also now been covered by Solicitors Journal in an article today
"Justice for All warns MPs on impact of legal aid cuts as judges speak out 28 February 2011
Campaigners against the legal aid cuts are using a survey of MPs to highlight their arguments that scrapping public funding for social welfare and immigration cases will close CABx and law centres and add to MPs’ workload.
The Justice for All survey was devised by David Gilmore, founder of consultants DG Legal and a former operations manager at the Legal Aid Board, predecessor of the LSC.
In a letter to MPs, Gilmore said that, based on MoJ figures, cutting legal aid from social welfare and immigration would save only 3.5 per cent of the budget.
He said this may mean MPs would have to “substantially increase” their support staff to cope with the additional demand from constituents.
“In effect MPs will find themselves being asked to provide much of the specialist help currently covered by Citizens Advice Bureaux, law centres and other advice agencies,” Gilmore said.
Steve Hynes, director of LAG and a member of Justice for All’s organising committee, said the campaign had got a “very good reaction” from MPs of all political parties.
“I get the impression that MPs are concerned, particularly about the social welfare cuts,” Hynes said. “They understand what is going on and are expressing their concerns to ministers.”
Hynes said the survey would be a useful indication of MPs’ reactions if the government pressed ahead with the cuts.
“We hope they will think again,” he added. ..." Read more link below