Left-winger sends clear signal that he’s a friend to lawyers
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has finally got round to legal aid — and the signs are positive for lawyers in a branch of the profession that has suffered hugely over the last few years.
Announcing an immediate review into legal aid cuts that will be headed by former shadow Attorney General Lord Willy Bach, Corbyn used language that showed a clear break from New Labour’s wishy washy policies on justice.
Describing the government’s reforms to the sector an “assault”, he said that it “has resulted in many of our fellow citizens, often the poor and marginalised not being able to get advice or representation when they are faced with legal problems such as housing, welfare benefits, debt and employment.” Corbyn added: “Many vital advice services, including Law Centres, have had to close.”
The veteran — who beat 200/1 odds to become Labour leader ten days ago — continued:
Even though it is clear that the consequences of Part One of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) are disastrous, the Government refuses to review the way in which the Act is working. Willy Bach, who is a member of the Shadow Justice Team, will also as a part of the Review look at policy choices for Labour so that Britain can once again have the prospect of a Legal Aid system worthy of our country and our legal tradition.
Bach’s brief is to look at the consequences of the cuts and come up with alternative proposals. With public money tight, it won’t be an easy job for the former King Street Chambers barrister.
Meanwhile, Labour has also announced that prominent legal tweeter Karl Turner MP has been appointed to the role of shadow Justice Minister.
I'm glad to be speaking for opposition on Legal Aid and Criminal Justice. Will take the Govt head on. http://t.co/wNvAfjM1NN
— Karl Turner MP (@KarlTurnerMP) September 22, 2015
The former Hull criminal barrister will play a prominent role in Corbyn’s legal aid review.