Fair enough it's what you should be doing but a lot of people out there are fairly apathetic about doing their own thing but might, just might be dragged along to something someone else is organising a march, post modern happening, mime against madness, mimicry against moronic mindsets or whatever. Personally I think the Sound Off's should organise a jazz trio, let's call them KC and his sunshine band (sorry that's been done) with Ken "Bumbler" Clarke on double bass, Mac " Ain't got the knack" Mcnally on sax and Djanogly, himself, on kazoo, playing Ken's soft shoe version of "Send in the Clowns"-think they would be interested?
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on May 20, 2011 14:28:18 GMT
Isn't the day of action really what you will be doing, as opposed to J4A doing anything itself?
I don't know whether you've noticed, but I'm having my very own personal one man campaign against the legal aid cuts
Absolutely!! It is all about what everyone out there can do themselves. It's a nightmare organising it all, sending out invites, emailing, ringing around etc - but the only way this will get done is if YOU (not you Jman I know you do your bit!) just get on and makes things happen.
There is apathy, there is complacency, that makes it all the more so, why you've just got to take the bull by the horns, take the plunge and make something happen.
At the end of the day excellent resources like Ilegal and Justice for All are resources for you to use, I've had lots of help from both, but the action bit is down to you.
Make the 3rd June a Day for Action. I've spent ages this morning on it - to make sure I'm doing all I can to make it a success, you've just got to keep on with it and never think any one is going to do it for you.
Use all the evidence on Ilegal/Mylegal, use the brilliant SHUSH paper, use all the J4A promotion and Sound Of for Justice too, even make some stuff of your own.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on May 20, 2011 15:07:09 GMT
Mylegal updated, read more of how far from straightforward it all is! I've point in some template letters we used for our own event and also highlighted the excellent work by the Young Legal Aid Lawyers.
Post by Colin Henderson on Jun 10, 2011 15:07:26 GMT
Gail Emerson from CitA and Jane Backhurst from LCF have done this piece in this month's LAG reviewing the campaign so far:
"Taking Action for Justice
Building an inclusive national campaign The JfA campaign has come a long way since a small meeting in September last year: three parliamentary debates; over 100 MPs signing an early day motion; robust support from the Labour shadow ministerial team (see also page 3 of this issue); the Justice Committee’s Access toJustice inquiry; the Cabinet Office’s advice summit; Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke receiving over 4,000 Valentine’s e-cards and over 5,000 responses to the Ministry of Justice consultation on legal aid (1,000 of which used JfA templates).
This has all given the government serious pause for thought about the proposals to decimate legal aid on civil matters, at a time when all funding for free legal advice is under threat. Three thousand plus organisations and individuals have played a part in making this happen. The founding members of JfA knew that what was needed was an umbrella under which to campaign and a call to action to inspire people across the country to express their passion for access to justice and concern about the devastating effects of a serious demise in access to free legal advice would have on the people who rely on it. Supporters have joined the campaign rom a range of perspectives. These include seeing the legal aid reforms in the context of international human rights and concern over their disproportionate qualities impact, in particular on women and children.
This campaign has been remarkable in the breadth and depth of support from across the civil and criminal lgal aid sector and the broader voluntary sector, and in engaging civil society as a whole to fight for the rule of law in the UK. Many view free legal advice as a vital part of the welfare state and know the important role it plays in protecting the most vulnerable. It is a deeply held commitment to ensuring that equality before the law is a reality which has inspired many more to take action.
Whatever concern brought people to JfA, the campaign offers a chance to understand all angles of the value of free legal advice. From the high media profile of the Law Society’s ‘Sound Off For Justice’ work (see page 9 of this issue) to a disabled man who called one of the authors to say that he had written to the editor of the South Wales Echo in support of JfA, all campaigners are playing their part in raising awareness of the issues. The campaign has even gone international: one of the campaign members met human rights organisations from across Europe when they gathered in Vienna recently. They were happy to support the campaign while speaking out jointly against the demise of access to justice in the UK. An attack on access to justice in one EU member state is an attack on access to justice in all states.
Strength of local campaigns However, the challenge is a big one: government is making savings quickly, and campaigns to preserve services and support are many and varied. The perception of inflated costs and waste in the legal aid system is strong. In addition, there is relatively little awareness of the value of free legal advice among the public and even MPs. We believe that it is backbench MPs who will provide the most influential route to persuading the government that free legal advice must be prioritised. Their support can only be won by raising their awareness of the devastating impact which the proposed legal aid reforms would have on their constituents. This is where the JfA campaign can be strongest, through campaigners in constituencies across England and Wales using their local knowledge and expertise to show MPs this is the wrong cut at the wrong time.
JfA’s day of action on 3 June provided an opportunity to co-ordinate this community-based lobbying. The campaign’s steering group called for the day of action, but the passion, creativity and commitment of JfA campaigners made it a success. From Hastings to Liverpool, groups of JfA campaigners took action for justice. Seafront marches, high street petitions, town hall rallies, street advice sessions, drama performances and round table meetings under the Chatham House Rules were just some of the events to which MPs were invited across England and Wales. However, the day of action is not the end of campaigning activity. Keeping up dialogue with MPs at local level remains vital, and JfA members will have a presence at the party conferences in the autumn. The forests found half a million supporters; JfA needs to move wisely, but with active campaigners in all communities we can protect access to justice through free legal advice. What will you do to take action for justice?"
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 11, 2011 8:37:04 GMT
Well said Gail and Jane. I especially like the bit on the 'strength of local campaigns'. With a rising tide of concern over taking away legal aid in SWL, the majority of Labour are on side, I'd guess a fair few Liberals are too and some Tories as well. It's all to play for, we should be engaging more on a local level now, getting people to see their MP's is all important. They can see the sense, but only if you engage with them and show them. Send client's their way and illustrate practical examples.
The campaign has exposed a lot of issues, we should look at where we are and now press ahead with convincing as many of the MP's who could swing our way. It's not an impossible task by any means.
I've updated Mylegal and would encourage people to try and use it to better effect. It's the Tory core who think their blessed reforms are right, a lot of the backbenchers won't be thinking the same. Ultimately, it's about convincing as many of the public and other organisations as possible to go and win their MP's around. It'll be a more informed debate in the Lords, with the exception of those that just read from script like Djanogly does in the Commons.
J4A have updated their site with information about the Welfare Reform Bill and lobbying they did in relation to it on the importance of proper advice provision in relation to welfare issues-link below
"Advice is critical to welfare reform Justice for All calls on MPs to ensure adequate advice is available as huge changes to the welfare system go through.
Government’s radical changes to the benefits system will be undermined if they do not ensure adequate benefits advice is available to claimants during the transition.
Justice for All briefed all MPs on the impact welfare changes will have on the need for advice, and how a good advice service can support the implementation of welfare reform.
An amendment was tabled at the final House of Commons stage of the Welfare Reform Bill. Although supported by many MPs, it was not passed. The Bill has now moved to the House of Lords, where we hope peers will embed the need for advice into law.
Justice for All Welfare Reform briefing jfa_welfarereform_breifing_june11.pdf (Adobe PDF - 25Kb) Do you support Justice for All? Join us Email Justice For AllJustice for All a coalition of charities, legal and advice agencies, politicians, trade unions, community groups and members of the public.
My name's Ed Austin, from Shrewsbury. I'm a Solicitor - this is the first year in 23 years that I haven't renewed my practising certificate, as I don't need one. I'm no longer in practice, I'm now a management consultant and occasional locum. I used to do civil litigation and property. I followed a link here from the Law Soc Gazette Group on Linked In.
All this butchery is grim for some of the firms I consult to, but for the communities they serve it's a total disaster.
And for this one: Shropshire is usually thought of as fairly affluent but it's a very rural county, sparsely populated, with only five towns of any size of which Shrewsbury, at about 65,000, is by far the largest, poor public transport, and significant rural poverty arising from an agricultural base - there is no major industry here.
Wrote an angry - no, incensed - letter to the local rag (Shropshire Star) this evening with an initial letter (another to follow) to local Tory MP for North Shropshire Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, coincidentally he's the Sec of State for Northern Ireland, so I can lobby a cabinet minister. I'm going to one of his surgeries too to express my outrage and disgust at what he and his homies are presiding over.
I'm also writing to Her Majesty, I'm sure she'll say that as a constitutional monarch she has to do what her poxy government tells her to do, but at least she'll know about the unfairness of all this.
Incidentally, three county courts here in Shropshire are closing on 30 September - Shrewsbury, Ludlow, and Oswestry - and the work is being transferred to Telford County Court. I always issued my proceedings in Shrewsbury County Court - and now they're going. Oswestry or Bishops Castle to Telford is a difficult trek if you don't have your own transport.
This is what access to justice means in England in 2011, if we can afford to bomb Libya and we can afford to lend Â£7bn to Ireland we can afford legal aid.
Well done Ed good to have you on board welcome to ilegal. Things you can do 1. Keep posting on ilegal and on its sister site My legal with your thoughts and ideas on the campaign. 2. Join Justice for All and Sound off for Justice the 2 umbrella organisations against the cuts. 3. Write to and/or go and see your local MP and councillors 4. Write to local and national papers. 5. Link up with any local firms and Cab in your area and see what you can do together. 6.read the large number of posts on the site here with campaigning and other ideas 7. Keep up the fight. There are thousands of us out there and right is on our side
Post by Colin Henderson on Jul 14, 2011 8:44:56 GMT
Whilst SOFJ keep their blog etc. going, J4A do seem to have gone a bit quiet on their site and there's been no emails for ages. Are they on holiday? Well, the latest edition of CAB legal gives this update:
"Following the Day of Action, Justice for All has been active behind the scenes to oppose the bill which will bring in the legal aid reforms. Justice for All agreed key concerns of the alliance about the Bill and briefed all MPs on ahead of the Bill’s Second reading – highlighting that the changes are being brought forward virtually as set out in the Green Paper, which raised such a chorus of protest. Member organisations are co-ordinating action as they work with MPs on the Bill.
The campaign has also linked the agenda to the Welfare Reform agenda securing an amendment on adequate advice, and briefing MPs on the importance of free legal advice on welfare benefits before the Welfare Reform Bill moved to the House of Lords. Citizens Advice had issued a more detailed briefing on this issue during Committee stage. Both these briefings are available on the Justice for All website: www.justice-for-all.org.uk.
Campaigning at local level continues with many bureaux planning meetings with their MP over the summer recess. This will be crucial to keeping MPs mobilised and aware of the impact of legal aid cuts on their constituents. Justice for All has secured fringe events at all of the three main party conference season which will be a key influencing opportunity before the Bill resumes in the autumn. "
So looks like its over to us to do local work until the autumn