Roads blocked for justice!
Excellent work from UK Uncut, Disabled People Against the Cuts, Plane Stupid and Fuel Poverty Action yesterday, who blocked roads in a mass protest at cuts to legal aid.
Said UK Uncut:
"The central London action outside the Royal Courts of Justice brought Fleet Street and the surrounding areas to a stand still. The actions were a necessary and proportional response to the government's plans to block access to the courts for millions of ordinary people by making justice unaffordable.
The government’s reforms have come under increasing criticism, with England’s most senior family judge recently describing them as ‘disconcerting’ and suggesting that ‘something needs to be done’. In July, the government was forced to backtrack on a key part of the reforms, that of removing the right of legal aid defendants to choose their solicitor, following protests.
Protestors blocked roads in seven towns and cities across the UK: London, Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge, Hull, Northampton and Norwich. In London, protesters met at the Old Bailey and put the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, on trial for ‘perverting the course of justice’. The protesters organised bands, poetry and know your rights workshops.
The government claims that changes will improve efficiency in the legal system and that the UK has one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world, but this claim has been challenged by research showing that the estimated £6m savings will be dwarfed by £30m in knock-on costs.
Anna Davidson, UK Uncut spokesperson said: “The government is making a political choice to cut legal aid to stop charities and individuals challenging their austerity agenda and its impacts in the courts. The government is lying when it says the legal aid changes are about saving money because their plans will cost more than they save.
“The government is making ordinary people pay the price of the economic crisis by stopping ordinary people accessing free legal advice and representation. Legal aid helps people keep their homes when social services is trying to evict them because of the bedroom tax, or sue the government over wrongful arrest or kettling, or disabled people access the services they need.”
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