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APPG on Legal Aid Meeting: Early Advice Wednesday 7 March 2018 (Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament)

Wed, 07/03/2018 - 09:00

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid met on Wednesday, 7 March 2018. The topic of the meeting was Early Advice and intervention in the early stages of legal problems. 

The Group were delighted to welcome the following speakers to address its members:

  • The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Legal Aid;
  • Lord Colin Low;
  • Christina Blacklaws, Vice-President of The Law Society;
  • Kari Gerstheimer, Director of Information and Advice and strategic lead for social care at Mencap;
  • Rachel Jones, a civil justice lawyer at Justice; and 
  • Carol Storer, OBE, Director of LAPG and Bach Commissioner.

The meeting was chaired by Karen Buck MP.




Casework and your Constituents: Training for MPs and Caseworkers in Sheffied

Fri, 02/03/2018 - 14:00

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid is pleased to offer a  Free Casework Training Session for Councillors and MP Caseworkers in Sheffield on 2nd March 2017. We are offering a choice of an afternoon or early evening session and free places can be booked through the relevant Eventbrite link. 

An Introduction to Legal Aid: an interactive session with Matthew Howgate of DG Legal in Reception Room B, Sheffield Town Hall Friday 2nd March 2018 2.00-4.00pm and again at 5.00 – 7.00pm.   Matt is a non-practising solicitor and a consultant with DG Legal. Matt has helped and advised dozens of firms and advice agencies and, as one of his recent clients said, "Matt has an unparalleled breadth and depth of knowledge across the entire legal services sector.

This training is aimed at Councillors and caseworkers and members of staff in MPs' offices that deal with casework on behalf of their constituents. The training has been developed a result of work and conversations that have been had with a number of Councillors and MPs and their staff across the country on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Legal Aid. The aim of training is to ensure that that Councillors and MPs are aware of the availability of Legal Aid for the issues that their constituents may approach them about. 


APPG on Legal Aid Meeting: Legal Aid and Inquests, New Domestic Violence Regulations and Prison Law Reforms

Wed, 07/02/2018 - 09:30

Speakers: The APPG on Legal Aid is delighted to welcome Jess Phillips MP and Jenny Beck of Beck Fitzgerald to speak about the new Domestic Violence Regulations. We are also very excited to welcome Alison McGovern MP to speak about the Public Authorities Accountability Bill which calls for the availability of Legal Aid for families at inquests and public inquiries, known as the "Hillsborough Law", Dr Laura Janes, Legal Director at the Howard League for Penal Reform and Greg Powell, President of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association.

Minutes of the meeting are available here



Casework and Your Constituents

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 17:00

Wednesday, 1 November 2017 – 17.00-19.00 -‘Casework and Your Constituents’ an event bringing together MPs, their caseworkers and legal advice, training and resource providers from the sector. The event aimed to (i) launch a training programme designed for MPs and their caseworkers which is to be rolled out in the coming months and (ii) to publicise resources and websites useful to caseworkers.

Recent research found that 89 per cent of constituent appointments at MPs' surgeries related to a legal issue, and many of the caseworkers that we have spoken to have responded positively to our offer of training and to signpost resources to them that will assist with their casework.

The programme that we are working on with other organisations will provide training in the following areas of law:

  • Legal Aid: What remains within scope, the means and merits test and referring to legal aid providers
  • Identifying legal issues
  • Housing Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Welfare Benefits Law
  • Issues around Disability

The Reception was introduced by Karen Buck MP, Chair of the APPG on Legal Aid, Yvonne Fovargue MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Legal Aid and Alex Chalk MP, Chair of the APPG on Pro Bono and Public Legal Education and Vice-Chair of the APPG on Legal Aid. The speakers all spoke passionately about the wonderful work that their caseworkers did among their constituents and welcomed both the training and resource initiatives. All in all, the event was a resounding success with over fifty caseworkers signed up for training in Westminster and in their local communities.



Grenfell Tower: Fire and Safety Issues in Social Housing

Wed, 25/10/2017 - 17:00

Wednesday, 25 October 2017 – Grenfell Tower: Fire and Safety Issues in Social Housing discussed the legal and regulatory issues arising from Grenfell Tower and the need to improve legal rights for tenants. Speaking at the meeting were Giles Peaker (Partner, Anthony Gold Solicitors), Justin Bates (Barrister, Arden Chambers) and Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington.

Minutes of the meeting are available below.



Joint meeting

Wed, 06/09/2017 - 10:30

Wednesday,  6 September 2017 – a joint meeting of the Chairs and Secretariats of five ‘access to justice’ APPGs to discuss joint working and priorities



Inaugural Meeting - Wednesday, 12th July 2017 - 09:00 - 10:00

Wed, 12/07/2017 - 09:00

This was the inaugural meeting for this Parliamentary session of the APPG on Legal Aid during which the Group was reconvened and the Group's Officers were elected.  The meeting covered current issues in both Civil and Criminal Legal Aid and touch upon the legal aid issues arising out of the Grenfell Tower fire.




POSTPONED: APPG on Legal Aid: Update on Criminal Defence Legal Aid

Tue, 25/04/2017 - 17:30

Please note that the APPG on Legal Aid meeting scheduled for 25 April 2017 has been postponed following the general election announcement.  We will reschedule the meeting for after the election once the MOJ ministerial team has been confirmed.  This is likely to happen in late-June.  Please contact us at LAPG if you want to discuss the work of the APPG or legal aid/access to justice issues in general.


Joint meeting of the APPGs on Legal Aid, Pro Bono and Public Legal Education

Tue, 17/01/2017 - 17:00

We were pleased to be joined by Sir Oliver Heald, QC MP, the Minister of State for Courts and Justice, for a discussion about current issues in legal aid.  Sir Oliver announced the formal review of the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, to be completed by the end of March 2018.



Civil and Criminal Legal Aid

Tue, 12/07/2016 - 17:30

Unfortunately Shailesh Vara MP, the Justice Minister whose remit covers legal aid and the courts, can no longer join us for the next APPG on Legal Aid.  The meeting will now focus on the recently released Legal Aid statistics, which provide a picture of the legal aid landscape in the three years following the implementation of LASPO. Released on 30 June 2016, the statistics cover the period up to 31 March 2016 and demonstrate the dramatic impact of the reforms introduced by LASPO.  The APPG is a good opportunity to discuss the impact: from the steep reduction in access, to the declining number of providers and the emergence of 'advice deserts'. The APPG will also consider what might happen over the coming years, with the LAA currently considering the content of both criminal and civil contracts and the shape and timing of the next tender rounds.

New Venue: Committee Room 19 - Houses of Parliament (Cromwell Green entrance - allow time for security checks)


Speakers: Nimrod Ben Cnaan, Law Centre Network; Steve Hynes, Legal Action Group; Carol Storer, LAPG; Oliver Carter, Young Legal Aid Lawyers.