Is Ken Clarke really the right man to cut up our Magna Carta cake?

© “Sound Off For Justice”

I’ve just received the following press release and photos from this afternoon’s Sound Off For Justice event:

‘Ken Clarke’ cuts up Magna Carta

Today the Sound Off For Justice campaign presented a Magna Carta cake to Ken Clarke to remind the Justice Secretary of his duties and obligations to protect the ancient document’s promises to the British people.

Ken Clarke will today address the House of Commons for the second reading of the fast-tracked Bill that the Sound Off For Justice campaign believes will lead to a two-tiered justice system.

The Sound Off For Justice ‘Let Them Eat Cake!’ tea party on College Green outside Parliament saw members of the public and MPs gather to cut up a Magna Carta cake to symbolise the cutting of access to justice for large swathes of the British population.

The cake was also a gentle reminder to Ken Clarke ahead of his 71st birthday on Saturday 2nd July.

Only last November Ken Clarke expressed, ”we should think very carefully before abandoning the principles that those people who signed the Magna Carta never knew they were inventing for ordinary people like you and me.”

Seven months later Clarke is rushing a bill through parliament; normally reserved for terrorism and economic legislation, that is set to tear up the founding principles of our justice system.

The Sound Off For Justice campaign is proposing alternative reforms that will protect key areas such as education, family, clinical negligence and housing civil legal aid cases from being taken out of scope for free civil legal advice, whilst saving more money for the British taxpayer. Legal Aid enables over 645,000 Britons every year access to justice, the fundamental right for all in a modern society, harking back to the key principles set out in the Magna Carta in 1215.

Members of the Law Society, key campaign partners and supporters such as the Women’s Institute and AvMA, along with 14-year-old Andrew Green who suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence at birth and was legal aid assisted in his fight for justice, attended the event.

The Law Society’s president, Linda Lee said: “Back in 1215 when the Magna Carta was signed, it was set out that ‘to no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice’. The principles set out by Ken Clarke and this coalition government are set to go back on all that we have fought for in this country and creates a two-tiered justice system, that favours the rich and leaves the vulnerable and needy with nowhere to turn, when they need it the most. Cameron’s Big Society will be the big loser, if he does not believe that the law is for all.”

You can also read my own take, posted early this morning, on what I’m pretty sure is a deliberate political strategy in relation to the Welfare State cuts being proposed.  More on this subject here.
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Footnote to this press release: Sound Off For Justice summarise the importance of Legal Aid in the following way:

Legal Aid is a fundamental part of the British justice system and our society as a whole. It’s something that exists to protect the vulnerable in our society – those who cannot defend themselves and are susceptible to acts of injustice due to financial or social circumstance or special needs. We’re talking about the battered wife who will no longer be able to protect herself against her violent partner, the divorcing father who could lose all access to his kids, and the elderly lady who won’t be able to do anything about her botched leg operation.

The government is proposing cuts that will take £350 million out of the Legal Aid budget, with key areas including medical negligence and family issues, such as divorce, coming out of scope entirely, meaning that even the most deserving cases will not have access to Legal Aid. The Law Society has launched its new campaign, Sound Off For Justice, to help place pressure on the government to consider alternative reforms that, whilst making the required savings, would protect Legal Aid funding for millions of Britons. Find out more at www.soundoffforjustice.org.

© “Sound Off For Justice”
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