The campaign against the Mininstry of Justice plan to Transform Legal Aid was from the outset opposed by the profession.
They above all understood what there was to lose if the proposals went through as set out in the consultation.
Almost as soon as the consultation was published the movement against it started. There have been meetings, strikes, marches, an online petition, TV and press interviews and in this increasingly digital age, a concerted campaign on Twitter and by bloggers.
For me, as with so many of my colleagues being a criminal defence solicitor is not so much a job but a way of life. Countless bank holidays, birthdays, Christmases and days off have been spent looking at the dull, institutionalised paint scheme of a police custody block rather than at home with family and friends. Evenings have been spent writing up the days cases, planning for the following days trial or on the phone to a nervous/angry/confused or confusing client.
What we, and our colleagues at the bar do is done not for the money, not for the glamour and certainly not for the job security. We do it because our clients can’t, we do it because justice is not just a word or a concept but a real and tangible thing.
It was because I do what I do and because I feel it is so important that I felt that I wanted to do something to help preserve it.
Not being part of a group who could really influence anyone, my contribution to the campaign was to write in my blog and try to raise the public profile of what was happening to access to justice.
A year after the consultation was published my blogs and those of forty eight others have all been collected together by @ilegal, Patrick Torsney into a free ebook
Saving Justice available on iTunes now and other formats soon.
If you have followed and taken part in the campaign then it is pretty much the story of where we are now and where we still need to go. If you have no idea of what has been happening over the last year please take the time to read at least some of it and join us in saving justice.