24 hours to protect legal aid (38 degrees)

Dear Andy,

Your access to justice is under threat. The government is planning a fresh assault on whats left of legal aid. Under their proposals people will no longer be able to choose the lawyer who represents them – instead they will be allocated the cheapest lawyer the government can find. Tomorrow is the last public event where we can make our views on this heard. [1]

Cut-price justice is no justice at all. These plans turn a fundamental human right into a cost-cutting race to the bottom.

And the race has some pretty surprising competitors: current contenders whove said theyll bid for the contract include the trucking company, Eddie Stobart, and G4S, the security firm who botched their job at the Olympic Games. Not to mention Serco, who rely on tax havens to hide the huge profits they made from delivering public services. [2]

Is this really our governments idea of justice? Handed out by trucking companies, tax dodgers and security bunglers? Theyre running a consultation to feel out whether the public will put up with these plans. Lets tell them loud and clear: we wont.

Click here to sign the petition demanding the government scrap their legal aid proposals:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/legal-aid

The consultation gives us a chance to convince the government to change their minds on this. The petition was started by Maura McGowan, 38 Degrees member and Chairman of the Bar Council. If we can get tens of thousands of people to sign it, we can turn the consultation into a public outcry – and put massive pressure on the government to scrap these ludicrous plans.

But we dont have long – the petition is being delivered tomorrow. Click here to sign it now:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/legal-aid

Imagine that you or someone you care about was arrested and couldnt afford a lawyer. Right now, you would have access to high quality, publicly-funded legal aid, from a lawyer you trust. If the Governments proposals go through, all that will change. Huge contracts will be given to a small number of organisations that offer one-size-fits-all legal services at the lowest price.

But access to justice isnt the only thing at stake here. Its another move by the government to privatise vital services. Companies like G4S and Serco are expected to bid on these contracts. These groups already have worrying ties to our prisons and police force – do we really want them representing us in court as well? [3]

Lets persuade the government to rethink these plans – sign the petition now:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/legal-aid

Thank you for standing up for the right to justice,

Megan, Alex, Susannah and the 38 Degrees team

Notes:
[1] BBC: Legal aid: Government consults on £220m savings plan:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22075141
[2] Guardian: Eddie Stobart drives into legal aid row
http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/may/08/eddie-stobart-legal-aid
[3] Guardian: Privatised justice is no justice at all:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/11/privatised-justice-legal-aid?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

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