Supporting access to justice
This week over 12,000 people, including a team from Obelisk Support, took to the streets of London to tackle the 10km London Legal Walk in support of access to justice. We wanted to share a bit about why we at Obelisk are supporting this cause, which is now more important than ever.
Helping people in a system that’s stretched
At the time of writing, junior criminal barristers in the UK are organising strikes, due to the fact that many of them are often working for less than the minimum wage in order to support their clients.
Lawyer Monthly reported in 2021 that over the past decade access to legal aid in England and Wales has been dramatically reduced, with a disproportionate impact on people of colour and women.
Access to justice in the UK is under pressure as never before, with an over-loaded court system, lack of access to professional representation and lack of support for those that need it most – succinctly explained by The Secret Barrister in “The Criminal Bar on strike – 9 things you need to know”.
This means that the funds raised by London Legal Walk and similar projects make a real difference to people in need.
“Why do I walk? I know that the funds I raise could mean someone receives the legal advice they need to change their life. That’s a powerful thing.”
Making a difference to people’s lives
The people helped by the funds the London Legal Walk raises are many and varied – and growing all the time.
Local law centres draw attention to the fact that the pandemic and cost of living crisis are pushing new people into their services, who have never experienced poverty before but now find themselves needing help to challenge the benefits system or unfair practices from their landlords.
Another growing community in need is those seeking asylum in the UK. As this becomes more difficult, increasing numbers of people are temporarily provided accommodation in cities such as Plymouth or Hull that have as few as one legal aid caseworker to support them, meaning they are less likely to receive the professional advice they need.
“Why do I walk? Supporting refugees in need is a cause close to my heart, and I’m worried that too many are being put at a disadvantage by not having access to proper advice to help them when their claim for asylum is being assessed.”
Areas that the funds raised by the London Legal Walk help include, but aren’t limited to:
- Modern day slavery
- Removal of care.
You can read more stories and case studies here.
Feeling proud of our profession
The legal profession and the rule of law are an essential component of a democratic society. At Obelisk Support, we’re champions of the profession and proud of the role that our judiciary and legal professionals play in upholding the rule of law. We want everyone to have access to the representation they need.
“Why do I walk? Because I believe in the law as a force for good. Access to justice is an essential part of a fair and equitable society.”