Labour’s front bench justice heads today outline a seven-point plan to adapt to coronavirus and ‘ensure the system is never left so vulnerable again’.
Writing in the Gazette, shadow justice secretary David Lammy MP and shadow attorney general Lord Falconer outline their immediate priorities at a time when the justice system is ‘incapacitated’. Some of their adaptations ought to be temporary and some permanent, they propose.
Labour’s action plan includes scrapping the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which ‘decimated the availability of legal advice and representation for those who cannot aff ord it’. Early legal advice should be available during the emergency and afterwards, they add.
Other demands include ensuring the legal profession itself survives, recognising that ‘many solicitors and barristers won’t survive a further 18 months like the last’.
Justice should be done by remote hearings ‘where possible’, while recognising that some hearings or parts of them should be conducted face to face. Online streaming of cases, meanwhile, ‘is a reform we should keep’, they add.