The legal profession's main representative bodies have announced the date for the first 'Justice Week' and are hoping to involve businesses, the public and frontline service providers in a conversation on wider justice issues.
The Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives have confirmed that Justice Week, which replaces National Pro Bono Week, will take place between 29 October and 2 November. The week will begin with an event exploring what the public thinks about the justice system and how issues are reported by the media.
The bodies say Justice Week 'will promote a vibrant mix of research, public events and digital media content, bringing together politicians, the media, industry, the third sector and the public to tackle the key challenges our justice system is facing today'.
Disclosure failings, action over further legal aid cuts, furore over the Parole Board's decision to release John Worboys, and an expose of the criminal justice system by the Secret Barrister, a legal blogger, have cast the media spotlight firmly on the justice system this year.
A spokesperson for the three organisations said: 'With so many parts of the justice system at breaking point, now is the time to make a strong and clear case for why it is so fundamental to our society, economy and democracy. Business groups, members of the public and frontline service providers should all be part of the conversation.
'This week aims to take the subject of justice to new audiences and underline the contribution and commitment of legal professionals and organisations to improving access to justice and strengthening the rule of law both in England and Wales and internationally.
'We are keen to hear from anyone who wants to run an event or campaign as part of Justice Week, whether it is to promote or support public legal education or pro bono, or to tackle some of the key challenges society faces around access to justice.'
National Pro Bono Week, which was set up in 2001, recognised the contribution lawyers make, free of charge, to people and organisations needing legal advice who otherwise would not be able to afford it. Solicitors were widely praised last year for quickly stepping in to volunteer their services to victims of the Manchester Arena and London Bridge terror attacks, and the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Society, Bar Council and CILEx says a specific focus on pro bono will continue with Global Pro Bono Week, which takes place the week before Justice Week.