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Open letter to Nick Clegg from the Justice Alliance

© Justice Alliance

6 November 2013










Dear Mr Clegg,

It is a welcome development that the recent Liberal Democrat conference confirmed unanimously the policy that the changes to legal aid should be stayed.

The conference vote recognises that in all aspects these proposals have serious implications for access to justice and fair trial rights.

Moreover, prisoners will be denied the means by which to ensure fair treatment; poor and unfair decisions of the state will go unchallenged as never before; asylum seekers and immigrants, such as those in Yarls Wood Detention Centre, will have no remedy for abuse; and quality criminal representation will be diminished further given the heavily reduced funding the consultation proposes.

We call on you to ensure the changes to legal aid, both those that are still in the form of proposals and those that Chris Grayling has decided will be implemented, which now have no government mandate, are stayed.

Frances Crook, Director, Howard League for Penal Reform
Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty
Andrea Coomber, Director, JUSTICE
Akhtar Ahmad, President, London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association
Matt Foot, Co Founder, Justice Alliance
Carol Storer, Director, Legal Aid Practitioners Group
Nigel Lithman QC, Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
The Refugee Council
Ian Lawrence, General Secretary, NAPO
Glena Maney, National Secretary, The National Liberal Party
Helen Bamber, Director, Helen Bamber Foundation
Clare Algar, Executive Director, Reprieve
Louise Christian, Haldane Society
Law Centres Network
Bill Waddington, Criminal Law Solicitors Association
Public Law Project
Suzanne Fletcher, Chair, Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary
Professor Carolyn Hamilton, Director, Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Steven Bird, Chairperson, Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association
Andrew Sperling, Chairperson, Association of Prison Lawyers
Deborah Coles, Co-Director INQUEST
Lubia Begum-Rob, Prisoners’ Advive Service
Roy Mincoff, Legal Officer NUJ
Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director, Just for Kids
Tony Kearns, SDGS, CWU
Katie Brown, Co-Chair Young Legal Aid Lawyers
Adrian Berry, Chair ILPA
Karen Mitchell, Legal Officer, RMT
Jon Robbins, Editor The Justice Gap
Detention Forum
Kent Refugee Help
Lochlinn Parker, Chairperson, NETPOL Lawyers Group
Susan Matthews, National Secretary, Defend the Right to Protest
Tamils Against Genocide
Martha Jean Baker, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Canterbury and Whitstable Stop The Cuts Group
Susan Bryant, Director, Rights Watch
Estelle du Boulay, Director, Newham Monitoring Project
Habib Rahman, Chief Executive, JCWI
Hackney Community Law Centre
Detention Action
Southall Black Sisters
Legal Defence Monitoring Group
Sian Evans, Women Against Rape
Celia Clarke, Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees
Cristel Amiss, Black Women's Rape Action Project
Val Swain, Netpol Campaign
Ali McGinley, Director, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees
Anne Gray, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Islington Law Centre
Unite branch (LE 785 Legal and Advice Workers)
Debaleena Dasgupta and Shamik Dutta, co-chairs of the Police Action Lawyers Group
Justice for Women
Louise Shorter, insidejustice, Miscarriage of Justice Unit
Save Justice
Medical Justice
Yarl's Wood Befrienders
Refugee Youth
Workplace Disability Adjustments
Advocates Alley
Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women
All African Women's Group
Don Flynn, Director, Migrants' Rights Network
Gill Baden, Bail Observation Project
Puck de Raadt, Churches Refugee Network
John McArdle, Black Triangle Anti- Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights 'Black Triangle Campaign'
Weyman Bennett, Co-Chair, Unite Against Fascism
Marlborough Cultural Therapy Centre
Shauna Leven, Director, Rene Cassin
Women for Refugee Women
End Child Detention Now
Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
Nigel Caleb, Director, Detention Advice Service
David Price, Chair, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group
Bill MacKeith, Campaign to Close Campsfield
Penny Bennett, Community Link Manager
Dave Stamp, Project Manager, ASIRT
Kate Roberts, Community Advocate, Kalayaan
Dr Rebekah Delsol, Stopwatch Stop and Search Legal Project
Sebastian Gardiner, Chair, SLL
Matt Brindley, The Traveller Movement
Fair Trials International
Gwyn Morgan, Prisoners’ Penfriends
Farid Littleproud, Director of Operations, Media Diversity Institute
British Tamils Forum
Southwark Law Centre
Manjeet Kaur, Chair, RAPAR
Emma Scott, Director, Rights of Women
Arvinda Gohil, Chief Executive, Emmaus UK
British Institute of Human Rights
JUST West Yorkshire
Keith Best, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive, NAT (National AIDS Trust)
Anti-Trafficking Legal Project
Saher Nada Osman, Camden Law Centre
Sheila Melzak, Director Boabab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile
Society of Asian Lawyers

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