JUSTICE had another busy year in 2018. Here are some of our highlights:
On 5 June 2018 the Working Party report Preventing Digital Exclusion from Online Justice was launched, chaired by Amanda Finlay CBE. The report makes practical recommendations to ensure that necessary support is an integral feature of the digital justice system and continue to work with the reform programme to instil a user focussed approach. The report makes 19 recommendations in total – mostly directed at HMCTS.
Our first Working Party report from Scotland titled Legal Assistance in the Police Station was launched on 7 June 2018, chaired by Lord Eassie. The report identifies that a concerning number of suspects in Scotland – around 70% – continue to waive the right to receive legal assistance at the police station, seven years after it was introduced, and six months after recent legislation re-affirmed the right. Moreover, of those who request legal assistance, only around 25% receive this in person at the police station and during police interview. This means that solicitors are providing telephone advice, but far less often, personal attendance at the police station. The report makes 17 recommendations seeking to improve informed and effective exercise of the right to legal assistance.
In July 2018 JUSTICE published our Working Party report Immigration and Asylum Appeals – a Fresh Look. Chaired by Sir Ross Cranston, the report looks at the determination processes in immigration and asylum cases and how these might be reformed in the context of the HM Court & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) Reform Programme. With the benefit of evidence from a wide range of expert consultees, and working with the judges, HMCTS, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office throughout, the report formulates 48 practical recommendations for change.
JUSTICE had an active calendar of events in 2018. These included:
- On 17th January 2018 JUSTICE arranged a members-only evening ‘In Conversation with Shami Chakrabarti CBE’ at Morrison & Foerster LLP.
- JUSTICE wrote a short report entitled Innovations in personally-delivered advice: surveying the landscape published in January 2018. In summary, the report briefly surveys the landscape post-LASPO – looking at innovative projects and practices in personally-delivered civil legal advice.
- Our annual JUSTICE Student Conference was held on 3rd February at the International Dispute Resolution Centre, under the title Transforming Justice – Court Modernisation and Digital Exclusion.
- JUSTICE launched a report on the ‘neither confirm nor deny’ (NCND) response at Matrix Chambers. The report focuses on civil courts and the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and includes some discussion of the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
- The report Supporting Exonerees: ensuring accessible, continuing and consistent support was launched at White & Case LLP. The report was launched with a panel of experts discussing the issues faced by exonerees following the quashing of their convictions, with an introduction from Barry Sheerman MP, chair of the APPG on Miscarriages of Justice.
- A long-time supporter and now Council member of JUSTICE, Lord Dyson spoke about his life in the law in conversation with Andrea Coomber at our members-only event on 25th April 2018 at Macfarlanes LLP.
- JUSTICE intervened in the Supreme Court case, R (on the application of Nealon & Hallam) v Secretary of State for Justice. We provided evidence of the inadequacy of the statutory compensation regime, arguing that the current regime had reduced the redress for wrongful conviction to virtually nothing.
- Our Working Party reports Preventing Digital Exclusion from Online Justice and Legal Assistance in the Police Station were launched.
- Joint Statement on the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee into Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition; The Intelligence and Security Committee’s report revealed shocking details of UK complicity in torture and rendition, with UK agencies far more deeply and systemically involved in the US tortureand rendition programme than had previously been publicly known.
- The Working Party report Immigration and Asylum Appeals – a Fresh Look was launched.
- JUSTICE wrote a letter to the Home Secretary expressing concern at the decision not to seek assurances from the US Government that it will not pursue the death penalty for Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh in connection with the supply of British intelligence.
- The AJC holds its first meeting
- Sir Christopher Greenwood GBE CMG QC gave the 2018 Tom Sargant Memorial Lecture at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. Until recently the UK judge at the International Court of Justice, Chris’ lecture was on ’International Law and Justice’.
- JUSTICE held it’s annual Human Rights Law Conference, where The Rt Hon David Lammy MP joined us as our keynote speaker. The programme for the event focused on a number of topics including access to justice, climate change, national security, Brexit and modern day slavery.
- A fundraising lunch for JUSTICE in conjunction with the Foundation for Australia and New Zealand Arts was held on 25th October at Spring Restaurant, where Geoffrey Robertson AO QC was our guest speaker.
- A special evening with Lord Neuberger and Albie Sachs in conversation with Sir Nick Stadlen was held at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on 26th November.
- Our annual Human Rights Day Lecture with JUSTICE Scotland was held at the iconic Signet Library in Edinburgh and delivered by Professor Conor Gearty. The lecture asked ‘Does Populism mean the end of human rights?’ and was chaired by Lord Hodge.
The Future of Legal Aid, Court reform, rights and the rule of law, and how to make the justice system work better were this year’s discussion topics at the fringe events. JUSTICE organised fringe events at the Liberal Democrats, Labour, Conservative and Scottish National Party Conferences in the Autumn of 2018.
JUSTICE staff also spoke at numerous meetings, seminars, university law fairs and other events across the UK and beyond throughout 2018.
We are immensely grateful to all the JUSTICE members and invited experts who assisted in these activities during the year. Without your support our work would not be possible.