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23 July 2018

UK legal profession sets date for a national legal debate

A new initiative to promote and educate the UK public on legal issues announced as 'Justice Week' invites proposals for events and campaigns.


The legal profession in the UK has set the date for the country’s first 'Justice Week,' it will take place between 29 October and 2 November. Announcing the dates, The Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives said they are aiming to involve businesses, the public and frontline service providers in a national conversation on broader justice issues. Justice Week is replacing National Pro Bono Week which started in 2001. An event exploring what the public thinks about the justice system and how issues are reported by the media will kick off the week.

Key challenges

Justice Week will promote a 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 facing the justice system. 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.’

Public image

The organisations cite a range of issues of public concern in in the UK, and extensive media coverage. The public image of the legal system has been tarnished by a number of issues, including disclosure failings, action over further legal aid cuts, anger over the Parole Board's decision to release John Worboys, and an expose of the criminal justice system by legal blogger the ‘secret barrister. The spokesmen said, '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.’ The organisers 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. 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.

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