In this edition, university academic, Dr Tom Smith, examines “the most expensive legal aid system in the world”. We look at the foolishness of politicians: Grayling may have made the cuts but what is the position of the Liberal Democrats on this issue?
Rakesh Bhasin attempts to work this out. (To even up the politician-bashing, I feel duty bound to observe that not even Labour vows to reverse the cuts if they gain power at the next election…). Countering any suggestion that our concern is not the greater good of society, a former client explains how he benefited from legal aid and what the curtailing of its provision would have meant to him.
It seems like the worst of times. But, to quote Dickens, such moments can also be the best of times. The legal profession’s response to the government announcement, as demonstrated on 7 March, was such a moment. The solicitors’ training day, coupled with the criminal Bar’s walkout, saw over a thousand lawyers protest against Grayling’s decision in the morning and attend a training event in the afternoon, accompanied by Lady Justice and an effigy of the Bogeyman himself. This edition has been slightly delayed to provide you with a full report of the day’s events.
Our president’s report points to the importance of keeping up the momentum of 7 March. I honestly do not know how Nicola has found time to write for this edition as she, and too many others to name here, have worked tirelessly to ensure that our voices are heard.
To quote from another giant of nineteenth century literature, Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
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Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.