The Government seem committed to removing the rights of the people to challenge injustice. Far from being challenged by the press, the government’s efforts in this area seem positively encouraged. A study conducted on the 65th Anniversary of Legal Aid by the Legal Action Group (2014) found:
“…evidence that the government has pursued a policy of systematic attacks to try and sway public opinion against the legal aid system and the lawyers who work in it”
and that the government argument within the media is repeated as:
- The lawyers who provide the service are overpaid.
- Legal aid goes to the undeserving.
- It is the most expensive system in the world. (Report by Hynes 2014)
These arguments are all flawed and have been debunked multiple times through long articles full of facts and graphs. It does not seem that these counter-arguments are persuasive as following my own preliminary research in this area the overwhelming impression was that people did not really understand what access to justice was or how it would relate to them.
While people recognise that it is almost certain they will need the service of a doctor at one point in their lives most people have limited contact with lawyers (aside from moving home) and the court system.
Given this it is not surprising that the wholesale cuts to the legal system in the UK have not attracted the levels of public support that cuts to the NHS has.
So why does it matter?
The attack on Access to Justice is a fundamental attack on people’s rights. If you cannot hold a person or organisation accountable for hurting your rights then you might as well not have them. If people know that they can’t get away with unfair and unlawful behaviour then they act in a fair and lawful manner. Access to Justice is the glue that helps hold society together and it is being attacked.
This campaign hopes to highlight this by focusing on the damage that will be done to a person’s “rights” if Access to Justice is removed. While people may not believe access to Justice is an issue almost everyone has an idea of rights and fairness and it is this that I hope to tap into to raise awareness of what is going on and how it affects everyone.