'Law for All' Report, Summer 2020
The year 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the Law Centres movement in the UK. As well as celebrating the occasion, the Law Centres Network is using it to campaign for greater access to justice. The new campaign, Law For All, launched with a report taking stock of the justice challenges driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report shows how people could find themselves unable to access legal assistance to protect their home, job or benefits without also pushing themselves and their families into poverty. The warning comes as new figures show that nearly 700,000 people have already lost their jobs so far during the pandemic.
The report's first part looks at typical social welfare law problems and examines how the pandemic has affected them. It considers, for example, changes in demand for services, in the ways people seek advice, in the ways legal advice is delivered, and remaining issues.
The second part presents the concept of the 'Justice Gap', the lack of access to justice affecting the nation's 'squeezed middle': people who are unable to afford to pay for legal assistance, but are also not eligible for legal aid. This is calculated against households' Minimum Income Standard, the level of earnings they would need for ordinary day-to-day life, rather than for survival only.
The research finds that millions of people in the UK are caught in the Justice Gap but would not know it until they are in urgent need of help. They would then be forced to choose between no legal protection or falling into poverty.
Download the report via the link below, or click here for the Law for All campaign website.