Our current campaign action – Postcards for Justice – aims to raise awareness about the changes to legal aid and judicial review among a wider audience, and send a clear message to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg: please defend access to justice for everyone!
We’ve printed thousands of copies of a specially designed postcard to Nick Clegg and recruited ‘Justice Ambassadors’ to invite their neighbours, friends, colleagues, families, and strangers on the street to sign them. We’re gathering all the signed postcards that each Ambassador has returned to us, and will deliver them to Nick Clegg on the 28th of November 2013 at 9am to Liberal Democrat Headquarters at 8-10 Great George Street, Westminster.
CLEGG TURNS HIS BACK ON JUSTICE
Emma Thompson, Noam Chomsky, Baroness Lawrence and Ken Loach join thousands of campaigners to press Nick Clegg on Legal Aid – but he is about to turn his back on them and on his own party.
* UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MORNING OF 29 NOVEMBER 2013 *
On Thursday 28 November 2013, campaigners from the organisation Save Justice will deliver thousands of specially-designed postcards to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, calling on the Lib Dems to call a halt to Legal Aid cuts.
Around 3000 people from across the UK have signed the cards (within just a few weeks), sending personal messages to the Deputy Prime Minister. They are joined by a number of high-profile public figures including Emma Thompson, Noam Chomsky, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Ken Loach, Peter Tatchell and Bianca Jagger. Whilst thousands more have already been posted to the Deputy Prime Minister directly.
The delivery of these postcards comes after the vote by Lib Dem members at Party Conference calling on party leaders to halt any further Legal Aid cuts, and after Clegg received an open letter condemning Legal Aid cuts signed by over 120 charities and organisations, including Amnesty international, Liberty and the Children’s Society.
But, despite this widespread opposition to the plans, the Liberal Democrat party leader has repeatedly refused invitations to meet with Save Justice to discuss these concerns, and hear the postcard messages sent from all over the UK, including many from his own constituents, and addressed directly to him.
James Welch, Legal Director of Liberty has said: “Legal protections are meaningless if people can’t access effective legal representation. The current proposals put justice beyond the reach of the most vulnerable and put the fairness of our criminal justice system in serious jeopardy.”
Dinah Rose QC, a former Liberal Democrat, said: “The protection of the right of access to justice ought to be fundamental to a party which values civil liberties. It is put in jeopardy by the Government’s proposals to implement yet more cuts on legal aid. There is no point in participating in Government unless the leadership uses the power that it undoubtedly has to prevent serious damage being done to our legal system, and to the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society”.
A spokesperson for Save Justice will say: “These complex proposals are being rushed through without a proper debate in Parliament. Whilst within just a few weeks we have collected the voices of thousands of people around the country who all agree that the proposals are illiberal and undemocratic.
“If unopposed, they would not only do significant damage to the reputation of the UK’s justice system internationally, but in many cases a proper analysis shows us they would end up costing more money than they are supposed to save. Yesterday, even the Secretary of State himself had to admit to the Joint Committee on Human Right that the Government haven’t even bothered to work out the actual cost implications of much of the proposals. We are bringing the voices of thousands of people directly to Nick Clegg. They are urging him not to turn his back on them, but to listen to their concerns and defend access to justice before it’s too late”.
Other notable signatories include: Clive Stafford Smith, actor Juliet Stevenson, comedian Josie Long, Shami Chakrabarti, Sir Geoffrey Bindman.
1. For photographs and more details of those who have signed the postcards, including celebrities – see here:www.savejusticeuk.wordpress.com/tag/celebrity-supporters/
2. The Legal Aid letter delivered on 15 November 2013, along with the names of the 120 organisations signed-up, can be downloaded from here: http://www.savelegalaid.co.uk/justicealliance
3. For details of the proposed changes to legal aid and judicial review see here: https://savejusticeuk.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/all-change-moj-reconsiders-legal-aid-proposals/
4. For more information, and to arrange an interview with a Save Justice representative, contact Isaac Shaffer on 07947 195 971.
5. The postcards will be delivered on 28th of November 2013 at 9am to Liberal Democrat Headquarters at 8-10 Great George Street, Westminster
Your concerns about legal aid
Here is a selection of just a few of our favourite messages you have written to Nick Clegg. Just click on each image to see it full size and to see who is in the picture!
Why Nick Clegg?
We’re targeting Nick Clegg because we believe that these changes are at odds with the principles of the Liberal Democrats. They risk leaving a toxic legacy: a country that is less democratic, in which its people are less empowered, and its government less accountable.
In September, the Liberal Democrat conference voted to oppose these cuts. In November, over 120 charities and campaigning organisations came together as the Justice Alliance to deliver a letter to Nick Clegg asking him to heed his party’s call for a stay on the changes. We believe it is time for the Deputy Prime Minister to listen to the thousands of organisations and people across the country who oppose the changes to legal aid and judicial review and take a stand against them.
Our Justice Ambassadors across the UK
The response to the campaign has been fantastic! Over 250 people have volunteered as justice ambassadors. Here’s a map showing where we’ve received postcards from. Keep them coming and we will add you to the map!