Legal aid: no justice, no peace.

Things are
about to get very loud. The government has already slashed legal aid for
thousands of people earlier this year. But that is not enough for them. They
want to finish the job they started and completely block access to justice for
all but the rich by the end of this year.

People are
angry about these proposals: there have been
and protests,
but the government is ignoring us and it’s clear that civil disobedience is
needed to stop their attack on our rights as individuals, communities, society.
It’s up to us to make some noise to fight for justice now. 

The UK Uncut
collective has got an idea…. We want to resist the government’s plans loudly,
creatively, and forcefully. We’re adding some spice to our plans over the
weekend – right now we’re thinking of blocking roads across the country  to show our resistance to the government’s
plans to block access to justice. And we want your help over this weekend to
come up with a name for the action and catchy slogans for banners and to spread
the word to save the date: Saturday 5
. We’ll be releasing all the info next week, so get ready to start
plotting where you live too!

Here’s some
info about what the government is planning to make your blood boil and
resistance rumbling!

The proposals
will remove the government from accountability to ordinary people who are
fighting for our hospitals to be kept open, roofs over our heads and food in
our bellies. The motivation for these changes isn’t about money at all as they will
cost more than they ‘save’. The incentive for the changes is that the
government will be able to implement its vicious cuts agenda with fewer legal headaches.
For example, many people who are facing eviction because they haven’t been able
to keep up with rent after the introduction of the bedroom tax or benefits cap will
struggle to find free lawyers who will challenge local authority decisions to evict
them and not provide emergency accommodation. People will end up on the

highly damaging aspect of the reforms is that the legal aid contracts will go
to the cheapest bidder. It is inevitable  that non-law firms such as
Eddie Stobart
(yes, the lorry company), and private security firms, like G4S,
Serco and GEO – will get the government legal aid contracts rather than
specialised, dedicated human rights or Welsh language firms. Quality solicitors
who specialise in representing Black people, migrants and refugees won’t get a
look in. There is a dystopian logic to this kind of ‘joined-up’ thinking.
It goes like this: G4S is a private security company. It currently runs the prisons
and police
custody roles
in which many criminal legal aid clients will be held before
and after they are advised to plead guilty by their G4S lawyer. And because the
government wants to pay the same for a guilty plea or a not guilty plea there
will be a financial incentive for solicitors to get their client to plead
guilty and to finish the case as quickly as possible. That’s what the
government likes to call ‘efficiency’. This is what we call a miscarriage of justice.

government also wants to deny access to legal representation to babies under
the age of one in family dispute cases, refugees, women fleeing domestic
violence, and families who have a second home in the south of Spain. People
won’t be eligible for legal aid if they can’t prove that they are currently
living in the UK lawfully and have done so for 12 months. The proposed changes
will mean that people like the families of Jimmy
and Jean Charles de Menezes
would not have been able to fight for justice in the UK.

We can stop these proposals. Join us Saturday 5 October.
Spread the word. Get involved on social media this weekend to choose a name and
plans for the action. See you on the streets. #Nojusticenopeace