LawWorks have continued to work on a range of policy issues during the pandemic, including through the legal and advice sector roundtable which has provided a valuable forum for communicating concerns and issues to the Ministry of Justice and others.
The July roundtable included a presentation from James Sandbach, LawWorks Director of Policy and External Affairs, on some of the most pressing issues as key temporary protections from earlier Covid-19 related policy interventions by Government start to be withdrawn in summer and autumn (such as the stay on possession proceedings).
The impact the pandemic and its adverse social consequences - including on legal needs, the court system and legal aid provision - has been a major concern. Along with Carol Storer from the Legal Action Group, and Chris McCurley from Ben Hoare Bell, LawWorks gave oral evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee on these issues. The Justice Select Committee have also published reports on the impact on the courts and the impact on the legal profession.
The August roundtable will enable further engagement with the Ministry of Justice on the prioritisation of early legal advice under the Legal Support Action Plan, including making a strategic case to the Treasury on investment in the sector. Other areas of policy we have been working on have included:
- The Family Justice System: Key legislation has been going through Parliament on divorce and domestic abuse; we produced a joint briefing, with the Advice Services Alliance and the Litigants in Person Support Strategy Partners, for Parliamentarians on these important issues.
- Employment rights and employment tribunals. The Law Commission of England and Wales has published a report recommending increased powers for employment tribunals. LawWorks submission is quoted in several places. We are also working with the Employment Legal Advice Network (ELAN) on a range of employment rights issues from furlough, to enforcement, to concerns over a potential re-introduction of employment tribunal fees.
- Legal Services Regulation. The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation undertaken by Professor Stephen Mayson has published its final report - Reforming legal services: Regulation beyond the echo chambers, and quotes LawWorks’ submissions.