Monday night of Justice Week kicked off with a panel of journalists, PR and comms professionals tasked with explaining to the legal sector how its campaigning on justice issues could be improved. "A little less Latin, a little more real-world outcomes" was the assessment from 38 Degrees Campaign Director Laura Townshend; it's time to communicate with real people by telling relatable stories.
Chaired by the Bright Blue's Matthew d'Ancona, the panel included CEO and founder of Blurred PR agency Nik Govier (read her write up of the event in PRWeek here), legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon), Rachel Krys of the End Violence Against Women coalition, and veteran public affairs specialist Jon McLeod.
On Tuesday morning at the APPG on Legal Aid, Chair of the Bar Andrew Walker QC described Justice Minister (and fellow panellist) Lucy Frazer's ideas for improving access to justice as 'tinkering'. The Chair went on to tell Shadow Lord Chancellor Richard Burgon that his party's policies on legal aid reform were 'modest'. "Now is the time," said the Chair, "for serious political leadership on justice at senior levels."
On Tuesday evening Chair-Elect Richard Atkins QC addressed the CPS section of the FDA on the question: How do we maintain public faith in the Criminal Justice System?
"The short answer," he said "is by funding it properly. And I don't mean by giving more money to lawyers."
Research unveiled at Wednesday evening's Temple Church event showed that justice cuts over the last 10 years have been taking against a backdrop of increased Government spending, begging the question: why was justice targeted? Panellists Caroline Goodwin QC, Chair of the CBA, Fiona Scolding QC, Landmark Chambers, Shiva Ancliffe, Coram Chambers, and Tom Royston, Garden Court North shared their stories of the day-to-day injustices in the system and the Bar Council showed its latest short film, Justice Cuts: The stories behind the numbers.
Finally, Thursday night saw the return of last year's Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, to chair a discussion on Immigration & the Rule of Law at Gray's Inn. A sold-out audience heard compelling contributions from panellists Gracie Bradley of Liberty, Adrian Berry of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and Steve Valdez-Symonds of Amnesty.