Justice News

  • Residence test shame for Coalition MPs

    Plans to impose a residence test on legal aid eligibility will impede the vulnerable and could even cost the government money. They should be voted down.

  • Mediation Report 03/07/14

    Commenting on the Report of the Family Mediation Task Force, Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP said:

  • London Legal Walk 2014

    Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre on the march for access to justice

    Andy joined the Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre team and thousands of lawyers to take part in the London Legal Walk, an annual event to celebrate the hard work of the legal professions and to raise valuable funds for impoverished Law Centres across London. 

  • Major fraud trial collapses over Tory legal aid cuts

    Commenting on the ruling in the "Op Cotton" case, Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP said, 

    "This morning [01/05/2014] HHJ Leonard QC sitting at Southwark Crown Court stayed proceedings in the Crown and Crawley and others fraud trial, after hearing representations from Alex Cameron QC (the PM’s brother) earlier this week that the case should not proceed because of the cuts in Legal Aid introduced by the Lord Chancellor.

    This is a political farce but it is deadly serious for the criminal justice system in this country which has been brought into disrepute and now rendered ineffective by the Luddite acts of a Lord Chancellor who is frankly out of his depth." 

    Shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan MP said,  

    “This is an astonishing indictment of the Tory-led Government’s policies. Time and again ministers have been warned their changes to legal aid could lead to miscarriages of justice and trials collapsing. Today, these warnings have come true.

    “Because of Chris Grayling’s legal aid changes, a judge has been forced to abandon a serious fraud trial because he couldn’t guarantee the defendants a fair trial. Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on this aborted trial, and this decision shows judges also have lost confidence in the Justice Secretary. Chris Grayling needs to urgently provide answers on how they plan to prevent a meltdown in the justice system caused by their policies. 

     

  • Grayling Day protest

    Today [April 1st 2014], as well as being All Fools’ Day, is Chris Grayling’s birthday. But his party planning is more directed to next year and a rather more venerable anniversary. In 2015 Magna Carta will be 800 years old and Grayling is hosting a lavish celebration. The irony is clearly lost on him. The first non-lawyer to hold the post of Lord Chancellor in over 300 years is busy undermining Magna Carta’s greatest legacy, establishing the rule of law and protecting the citizen from the uncontrolled power of the state.

    So far the Coalition has approved cuts in civil and now criminal Legal Aid of over half a billion pounds, privatised probation services, blocked access to justice by dismantling no win-no fee agreements and judicial review, imposed prohibitive court and tribunal fees and closed over 150 courts.

    Grayling often picks his targets to please the Daily Mail. He continues to defend his ban on books (which Sadiq Khan has pledged to overturn) being sent to prisoners. But the Mail too has become alarmed by the increasingly authoritarian tone at the MoJ with increasing use of secret courts in civil, family and now magistrates’ court proceedings.

    The Lord Chancellor has lost the confidence of the legal professions in a way none of his predecessors has. On taking office he swears this oath:

    I do swear that in the office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain I will respect the rule of law, defend the independence of the judiciary and discharge my duty to ensure the provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts for which I am responsible. So help me God”

    Now those whose integrity he is supposed to defend have started a petition calling on him to go

     Afternoon tea with Grayling