Time and again this year the legal profession has shown what a credit it is to this country - one only has to look at solicitors' immediate responses to the Grenfell Tower fire and the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London as proof.
Many will say that such efforts demonstrate the importance of legal aid and access to justice, that vulnerable people should not have to rely on solicitors' goodwill.
The government may be in the midst of reviewing the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which removed from scope huge areas of civil work, including welfare benefits, debt, immigration and most housing, but it can't be assumed the Ministry of Justice will do a U-turn on its controversial reforms. You may recall that months before employment tribunal fees were scrapped, the ministry said the regime, introduced in 2013, was 'working well'.
With no signs that the legal aid cuts will be reversed, what can be done to ensure vulnerable people receive access to justice? What would ensure Harrow Law Centre does not post heartbreaking tweets such as the following?
its really distressing that we have to turn people away because although we have the expertise we do not have the funds to take on the case.— Harrow Law Centre (@HarrowLawCentre) August 23, 2017
The idea has been met with a mixed response. 'I saw a sign yesterday that said "free cash machine" and wondered who was giving it away. Now I realise it must have been a solicitors office,' one (anonymous) Gazette reader commented.
But it's good to see Greater Manchester Law Centre not letting negative reactions to its levy suggestion detract from an important cause:
Suggestions about sustainable funding plans are welcome in the comments section below.