The Justice Gap series is an ongoing series of publications and events. The ideas behind the series are as follows:
- to make a positive and different contribution to the debate to improve ‘access to justice’ for ordinary people;
- to challenge received wisdoms;
- to be thought-provoking; and
- to raise the profile of the issues.
All titles are freely available as a digital download. The hard copy can be bought at www.solicitorsjournal.com/justicegap.
Michael Mansfield QC explains the idea:
‘The ‘Justice Gap’ refers to the increasing section of the public too poor to afford a lawyer and not poor enough to qualify for legal aid. At the heart of any notion of a decent society is not only that we have rights and protections under the law but that we can enforce those rights and rely upon those protections if needed.
To that end, the Attlee government introduced our system of legal aid in 1949 as a fundamental building block of the welfare state. The architects of that welfare state decreed that legal aid shouldn’t be restricted to those people ‘normally classed as poor’ but should also include those of ‘small or moderate means’.
Something has gone wrong. That scheme is in danger of being reduced to a minority sink service. Eligibility for legal aid dropped from 80 per cent of the population in Attlee’s day to less than one in three of us. This series is about closing the justice gap.’
Titles are edited by Jon Robins and published by Solicitors Journal. They are all freely available on the Internet.
‘We need all the constructive ideas we can get. The book makes a valuable contribution.’
Michael Zander QC on Closing the Justice Gap.
‘[An] excellent and thought-provoking collection of essays by distinguished authors from across the spectrum of involvement and interest. In my view the essays make a valuable contribution to what is a necessary, vital and current debate. I commend them to you.’
Mr Justice Sweeney on Wrongly accused.
Titles so far include:
- Closing the justice gap: new thinking on an old problem (May 2010)
- Pro Bono: good enough? The uneasy relationship between volunteer legal activity and access to justice (November 2011)
- Unequal before the law? The future of legal aid (June 2011)
- Wrongly accused: who is responsible for investigating miscarriages of justice? (May 2012)
- Public Legal Education (to be published later this year)
- No defence (prsently commissioning, due out Match 2013)
- Compo Culture: do we really claim too much? (presently commissioning; edited by Jon Robins and Dr Angus Nurse due out April 2013)