Justice in the new Parliamentary session - Monday 3 February 2020
All-Party Parliamentary Group Meeting, Monday, 3 February 2020 – Justice in the new Parliamentary Session
The APPG on Legal Aid met on Monday night in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons for its first meeting in 2020. The event was held ahead of Justice Week (which runs from Monday 24-Fri 28 February) and was the first opportunity of the new parliamentary term for those with a responsibility for Justice, either in Parliament or via rep bodies, to come together.
Lord Falconer (Charlie Falconer QC) told a packed room that this is a crucial period for legal aid and the law. He highlighted the fact that despite repeated claims by the current government that austerity is at an end, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has written to ministers urging them to cut costs and refocus resources on Boris Johnson’s priorities of hospitals, schools and ‘levelling up’. He added that sadly no-one is interested in the justice sector, and that Robert Buckland must make the case to the treasury for an improvement in the finances.
Conservative MP Bob Neill, who has been re-elected as chair of the House of Commons justice select committee, told the audience that politicians need to stand up to the Treasury in the face of further spending pressures – and that the justice select committee has now got to the stage where they are telling government that the legal aid cuts have gone too far.
Chris Minnoch, CEO of LAPG, rounded up the session with a rousing speech, recognising the critical importance of the Criminal Legal Aid Review, but imploring government to also address the issue of sustainability of the civil legal aid sector.
Sir Bob Neill MP (Chair of the Justice Committee from 2016)
Lord Charlie Falconer
Baroness Natalie Bennett (on behalf of the Green Party)
Daisy Cooper MP (on behalf of the Liberal Democrats)
Fiona Rutherford (MoJ Director of Access to Justice Policy)
Bambos Charalambous MP (Labour Shadow Justice Team)
Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of The Bar Council
Simon Davis, President of The Law Society of England and Wales
Caroline Goodwin QC, Chair of the Criminal Bar Association
Chris Minnoch, CEO of LAPG
Faith Rowan on behalf of Young Legal Aid Lawyers
The full set of minutes can be found here.