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General election guidance for members

21 November 2019

When is the election happening and when will results be available?

The election is taking place on Thursday 12 December. 

Results are expected from the early hours of 13 December and will continue to be announced throughout the rest of the day.

Who is standing in my local area?

The list of candidates nominated to stand in the general election was published on Friday 15 November.

Find out who has been confirmed to stand in your constituency

What are Law Society's key asks for the next government?

The growing number of issues facing our criminal justice system are preventing vulnerable people from accessing justice.

Ahead of the general election, we identified a series of key policy asks that we’re calling on the political parties to adopt to fix our broken criminal justice system.

These are outlined in Our vision for law and justice 2019, along with a number of other policy priorities related to Brexit, trade, technology and legal services.

Our headline policy asks for the next government are:

  • conduct an independent economic review of the long-term viability of the criminal legal aid system and raise criminal legal aid fees in real terms
  • reinstate legal aid for early advice, particularly in housing and family law, and increase the civil legal aid means test income and capital thresholds
  • commit to increasing civil legal aid fees in line with inflation and commission an independent review of the sustainability of the civil legal aid system
  • ensure we have a deal and therefore avoid a no-deal Brexit, as this will cause damage to the legal services sector the wider economy and the rule of law
  • secure a future relationship with the EU that allows UK lawyers to continue to practise law and base themselves in the EU, appear before EU courts and ensure legal professional privilege for their clients
  • recognise the value of lawtech as a distinct sector by adopting the LawTech Delivery Panel’s definition of lawtech as “technologies which aim to support, supplement or replace traditional methods for delivering legal services, or which improve the operation of the justice system”

What is the best way for me to raise these issues locally?

There are a number of ways you can raise these issues locally throughout the election:

  • mention them to local candidates
  • write to your local candidate
  • attend a local hustings event
  • write a letter to your local newspaper

What questions should I ask candidates if they knock on my door?

In addition to raising our policy asks above, you may want to ask candidates the following questions:

  • What are your plans to improve access to justice in the constituency?
  • What would you do to address the critical problems facing our criminal justice system, including the growing shortage of duty solicitors, court closures, barriers to accessing legal aid and crucial evidence not being disclosed until the last minute?
  • What would you do to ensure UK lawyers are still able to practise across the EU post-Brexit?
  • What is your view on the role of technology and innovation in the legal services sector?

If you receive a visit from a party activist who is unable to answer these questions, you can request a visit or a written response from your local parliamentary candidate.

You could also direct them to our manifesto.

How can I contact my local candidates?

The quickest way to contact your local candidates is to write to them using our online tool which takes just a few minutes.

We've created a template letter which outlines our priorities for law and justice, but you can also amend it to include your own points.

Find the contact details for most candidates

What should I do if I meet one of my local candidates?

You should write down the key points you would like to make in the meeting in advance and keep in mind that candidates will have limited time to meet, so it's useful to keep your points clear and concise.

If possible, it's useful to highlight how the issue you're raising links to the local constituency – local examples are particularly helpful.

It's also a good idea to follow up your meeting by emailing or writing to your candidate to thank them for their time and reiterate any key points made or anything they agreed to do.

It's also helpful for us to know the outcome – contact us at the details below to let us know how your meeting went, or if you'd like any more specific advice on meeting local candidates.

What happens to the work of the civil service?

The pre-election period (commonly called 'purdah') began on 6 November and marks the point after which public sector bodies have to act in a neutral way. This means they will be restricted in terms of what they can say and what they can announce.

Although parliament has now been dissolved, during the pre-election period, the government still has the responsibility to govern and civil servants will keep delivering government business.

However, they're obliged by pre-election period restrictions to avoid any activity that could call their impartiality into question, and to ensure that public resources are not used for party-political purposes.

If you have any questions or would like further information, contact parliamentary@lawsociety.org.uk.