Access to justice is on the verge of a crisis.
There can be no effective rule of law when we lack a fully accessible and affordable judicial system.
We have launched our campaign because:
By campaign, we mean an organised way to achieve a goal. We mean doing what lawyers do best: gathering evidence, presenting the facts, persuading. We will be focusing on three core goals, and need the help of our members to achieve them.
Affordable access to legal advice is a basic right for everyone but recent changes have made it more difficult to get legal help. We have submitted our recommended solutions to the government.
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has just opened the tender for the 2017 criminal legal aid contracts.
The outcome of a consultation on the new 2017 criminal legal aid contract was today greeted with concern by the Law Society of England and Wales.
In collaboration with others, we have set up a joint working group to examine the viability of a contingent legal aid fund.
The Law Society welcomes this strong defence of the principle that the right to British justice applies to everyone who is subject to the laws of this country.
Richard Miller, head of the Justice Team at the Law Society, outlines some of the key features to expect from the new legal aid crime contract.
A report by a key UN committee has criticised government moves to restrict access to justice in England and Wales, echoing the case made by the Law Society.
The Law Society is being consulted on the terms of the Criminal Legal Aid Contract 2017.
The Law Society of England and Wales welcoming the Justice Select Committee new report on fee increases.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has started to gather more information about the existing arrangements and how they operate in practice.
Proposals to curtail the ability of 'McKenzie Friends' to recover fees in the wake of a successful court action were today backed by the Law Society.
The Legal Aid Agency's (LAA) Contract Review Body (CRB) forms part of a contractual dispute-resolution process, leading ultimately to mediation or litigation.
Providers holding a Crime Contingency Contract have until 30 June to accept the Legal Aid Agency's (LAA) offer to extend their contract to 31 March 2017.
This practice note provides advice on good practice for legal practitioners who advise and represent clients at mental health tribunals.
The Ministry of Justice seeks responses from civil and criminal practitioners to a pre-consultation questionnaire on remuneration for contempt proceedings.
A report by Transform Justice suggests that miscarriages of justice and long delays in the criminal justice system are becoming more common.
The Law Society has responded to the ministerial statement on civil legal aid.
We are looking for members' views on what features of accreditation are most important and useful.
Attempts by the government to introduce a residence test for anyone claiming legal aid have been dismissed in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling.
Solicitors, barristers, members of the judiciary and law students will be walking through central London, raising money for the London Legal Support Trust.
Mandatory use of the LAA client and cost management system is to go ahead on Friday despite recent technical problems with the LAA Online Portal.
The Law Society has raised concerns with the LAA about their crime online portal. The LAA have responded with the following update.
Ahsan Khan, a solicitor with Shoosmiths LLP, describes his experience of pro bono work.
Those who lack mental capacity must have access to independent representation in court hearings about their personal liberty, the Court of Protection rules.
The challenge brought by Rights of Women against the government's harsh evidence test for victims of domestic violence to access legal aid has been successful.
Cuts to legal aid have undermined the vital role solicitors play in helping people to assert their legal rights, according to the Law Society.
Cuts to legal aid have undermined the vital role solicitors play in helping people to assert their legal rights.
The Law Society has published lobbying packs for practitioners wishing to fight against local court closures and an interactive map detailing the closures.
The Law Society has welcomed the Court of Appeal ruling that government changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence are unlawful.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers gave evidence to the Commons Justice Committee on court and tribunals fees and charges on Tuesday 9 February.
The Law Society is disappointed that the government is pressing ahead with the closure of 86 courts in England and Wales.
The Law Society welcomes the Ministry of Justice's (MoJ) decision to abandon plans for the two-tier criminal legal aid contracting regime.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers wrote to The Times, regarding the lord chief justice's report on increased civil court costs and the impact of LASPO.
The Law Society has responded to the news that David Cameron has ordered ministers to take action to clamp down on lawyers pursuing claims against veterans.
Law Society called on LAA and MoJ to issue an urgent public statement to provide certainty for all involved in the legal aid duty contract procurement process.
This practice note concerns the particular way in which criminal defence solicitors need to consider the avoidance of conflicts of interest when considering whether it is appropriate to act for more than one suspect or defendant.
As we prepare for the holiday, thoughts turn to those who will be working over Christmas in the service of others.
Solicitors need to inform clients in criminal cases about the changes to the Defendants' Costs Orders regime.
This practice note is intended to help you avoid the risk of inadvertently committing or procuring the commission of a criminal offence.
Issues arise when you are considering either withdrawing from representing a defendant, or taking on a transferred case, close to or in the course of the trial. This practice note provides advice on managing the process.
PACE requires that police interviews with suspects are recorded. You must ensure that interviews with clients who require a sign language interpreter are video recorded. This practice provides advice on how to meet the requirement.
The Ministry of Justice has laid regulations postponing the restructuring of criminal legal aid fees until 1 April 2016.
The Legal Aid Agency has announced its intention to mandate the CRM14 eForm from 1 May 2016.
Rollout at all Crown court sites will take place from 5 January 2016.
The Law Society has again called for explicit statutory protection for legal professional privilege in its evidence to the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill Joint Committee.
The Law Society is strongly opposed to a suggestion that instructing an in-house advocate represents a conflict of interest.
Clients should be able to choose which lawyer they want to represent them in court, the Law Society said today.
The Law Society has responded to the draft code of practice on the Mental Health Act 1983 for Welsh Ministers.
The Legal Aid Agency has announced details of the own-client contract arrangements from January 2016.
The Court of Appeal held that the lord chancellor did have power under LASPO to introduce the test.
The Law Society is calling on members to oppose any restriction on the use of in-house advocates.
The High Court has rejected a legal challenge over the lawfulness of government changes to legal aid for domestic violence victims. Law Society president Andrew Caplen expressed his disappointment at the ruling: 'This change, introduced by the government, is yet another example of the draconian cuts affecting vulnerable clients.'
Our poster and leaflet explains the areas of law where legal aid is still available and how to find help.
We have also published an online guide to legal aid and the eligibility criteria.
The Office of the Children's Commissioner has published an assessment of the impact that changes to legal aid have had on children since 2013.
A year on, have the legal profession's doom-laden predictions about the impact of deep civil legal aid cuts been realised? The Law Society Gazette looks at the evidence.
Our evidence covered inadequate exceptional funding procedures, problems with domestic abuse evidence requirements, concerns about the mandatory telephone gateway, the impact on legal aid providers, and the rise in the number of litigants in person.
Andrew Caplen outlined the Law Society's concerns about the impact of changes to civil legal aid under part 1 of the Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
The report found that: 'The changes to civil legal aid introduced in April 2013 are denying access to justice to women experiencing violence, contradict the government’s commitment to end violence against women and girls and fail to meet obligations under domestic and international human rights law to respond to violence against women with due diligence.'
Lord Low, who chaired the commission, said: 'Our report makes sobering reading and we are calling on political parties of all stripes to recognise the need to act before we reach crisis point. All around the country we found advice agencies buckling under the strain, and ordinary people left with nowhere to turn.'
Public opinion has hardened against the government’s cuts to legal aid, according to the results of a poll published to mark the 65th anniversary of the modern legal aid system.
This report warned that the government's plans for legal aid would lead to knock-on costs and reduce access to justice.
As part of our awareness campaign, we've set up a guide for the public:
See the list of areas and how to check eligibility
A Justice Alliance video featuring Stephen Fry and Jo Brand explains how the government's changes to legal aid will put justice out of reach for many ordinary people.
The Access to Justice Committee is part of our Legal Affairs and Policy Board.
It promotes improvements in legal aid and access to justice and advises on policy formulation and negotiations with the Legal Aid Agency, the Ministry of Justice and the wider government.
It also provides support to practitioners who provide or wish to provide publicly funded work.
Further information and contacts