In praise of: access to justice victories in 2017
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Marc Bloomfield
Now is the time when newspapers and other media publish lists of highlights (and lowlights) of the year. Not to be left out, Legal Action presents our top five access to justice stories of the year:
1R (Unison) v Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51 (September 2017 Legal Action 89, 39): an easy winner, ‘a cheering reminder of the fundamental reason why the courts and tribunals are there,’ said our columnist, Douglas Johnson.
2Victory in the legal aid for prisoners case (R (Howard League for Penal Reform and Prisoners’ Advice Service) v Lord Chancellor [2017] EWCA Civ 244; May 2017 Legal Action 4): a ‘powerful testament to the ability of the courts to strike down decisions that result in systemic unfairness,’ said Laura Janes, head of legal at the Howard League.
3The senior judiciary’s criticism of legal aid cuts (September 2017 Legal Action 4 and November 2017 Legal Action 4): Lord Neuberger, who was president of the Supreme Court at the time, told the Australian Bar Association Biennial Conference in July that it ‘verges on the hypocritical for governments to bestow rights on citizens while doing very little to ensure that those rights are enforceable’.
4The Homelessness Reduction Bill receives royal assent (May 2017 Legal Action 5): ‘… arguably the most positive change in England since the 1977 Act itself,’ said renowned housing law expert Andrew Arden QC.
5Post-legislative review of LASPO (see page 3 of this issue): it’s been delayed for too long, but at least it’s now going ahead!
Happy new year from all at Legal Action Group.

About the author(s)

Steve Hynes
Steve Hynes is director of LAG. He is a well-known commentator in the written and broadcast media on legal aid and access to justice issues.