Access to Justice Today
There is much concern about access to justice: Theos, the Christian think tank, has just issued a very good essay entitled ‘Speaking Up:- Defending and Delivering Access to Justice’. The Bar Council, together with other legal bodies, has just published a ‘manifesto for justice’ and also there is much press comment on this topic.
Because of the financial crisis and the rapidly rising costs of providing legal aid, successive administrations have cut funding or removed the scope of legal matters covered by the state provided scheme. In addition, court fees are rising and changes to judicial review will make it more difficult to challenge government bodies.
This means access to justice is in danger of becoming a concept more than a reality and will diminish the availability of justice, thus damaging the most vulnerable and the rule of law.
Theos reminds Christians both of the importance to our faith of justice and of the particular responsibility upon Christians to advocate on behalf of those who do not have a voice.
Theos goes on to say that if Christians are serious about seeking justice they need to engage hands on to satisfy the growing need for legal advice, assistance and advocacy today.