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October 2015


Legal Action

if you have a message regarding the magazine, please contact the editor Louise Heath at

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A growing body of evidence indicates a link between ill health and the lack of availability of advice to assist people with their legal problems. LAG argues that we have to persuade policy-makers to adopt an integrated strategy for advice and health services, rather than allowing the current piecemeal approach to continue.


The 2015 Legal Aid Practitioners Group annual conference will focus on the role IT should play in reducing the access to justice gap caused by the LASPO cuts.

LAPG director Carol Storer said: ‘No amount of technology will ever replace what has been lost, but we and our members have a duty to clients to be open minded about IT, and to encourage its use and development where this is in the interests of justice.’


Criminal lawyers have reacted with disappointment and fury at the Lord Chancellor’s offer to suspend the latest 8.75 per cent fee cut for three months, after the profession called off its 52-day boycott in August.

Cover story

Military precision and a lion heart

October, 2015 by Fiona Bawdon

Marcia Willis-Stewart has handled some of the biggest cases of recent times – de Menezes, Duggan, Hillsborough – but the one that sticks most in her mind is of a man wrongly accused of shoplifting who wanted more than just tea and sympathy.
Fiona Bawdon reports.


Time to get to know your latest regulator

October, 2015 by Vicky Ling and Matthew Moore

The Financial Conduct Authority is the new kid on the regulatory block, and legal aid firms would do well to understand how they may be subject now, or in the future, to its powers.


48 hours in the life of Raj Chada

October, 2015 by Raj Chada

Raj Chada a criminal defence solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen describes a typical 48 hours in his working life.


Legal aid cuts are making clients sick

October, 2015 by Catherine Baksi

With clear links between unresolved social welfare law problems and illness, is it time to make health the next rallying cry for legal aid campaigners? Catherine Baksi sifts the evidence.

Use it or lose it

Use it or lose it: welfare benefits

October, 2015 by Desmond Rutledge and Tom Royston

Desmond Rutledge and Tom Royston explain what remains of public funding in social security cases.

Use it or lose it

There is a widespread public perception (in some cases shared by advisers and community organisations) that legal aid is no longer available for anything other than criminal cases.
Legal Action’s ‘Use it or lose it’ series aims to highlight where legal aid remains for civil cases.

Law and practice

Law and practice: Police misconduct: Update

October, 2015 by Stephen Cragg QC, Tony Murphy and Heather Williams QC

Stephen Cragg QC, Tony Murphy and Heather Williams QC analyse key misconduct cases, including decisions dealing with retention and disclosure of information, immunity from suit, and the IPCC’s power to reconsider previous disciplinary action decisions.

Law and practice

Law and practice: Social security: recent developments

October, 2015 by Simon Osborne and Sally Robertson

Simon Osborne and Sally Robertson review recent case law.