Streatham lawyer attacks legal aid cuts as campaign boosted by online flashmob


The campaign aims to raise awareness of the Fight4LegalAid petition.


By Rachel Barr, Kat Bawmwang, Emma Griffin and Andrew Lawton

Legal aid cuts have been labelled draconian by a former legal aid lawyer in Streatham, on the day a social media campaign reached over 370,000 people.

Today’s online flashmob was organised through Thunderclap for 11am, aiming to raise awareness of the Fight4LegalAid petition which is approaching 20,000 signatures.

The petition calls on the government to rethink cuts to the legal aid budget and protect access to justice for all.

Thunderclap synchronises the social media of a group and submits a single message across Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr at the same time in an attempt to maximise online exposure.

One petition supporter is Margaret Hatwood, a family partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors’ Streatham branch.

“This is an issue we feel passionately about at Anthony Gold,” she said.

“Cuts will inevitably lead to more legal costs for clients. There are now many worthy cases that don’t get funding. It is draconian, I think it’s absolutely appalling.”

Ms Hatwood, who previously worked with a large proportion of legal aid funded clients, encouraged others to sign the petition. She said, for many, it is impossible to be properly represented without funding.

Today’s campaign and the petition were both organised by Justice Alliance. The collection of organisations, charities and groups, were also responsible for the protests outside Parliament earlier this month.

Sadiq Khan, Shadow Justice Secretary and MP for Tooting, voiced fears that the cuts would undo previous progress which enabled those from less affluent background to pursue careers in the legal profession.

He told thejusticegap: “Unless mummy and daddy are rich enough; unless you’ve been to a public school – you can’t think about a career in the legal aid profession. And that’s heart-breaking for me.”

Photo courtesy of copwatcher, with thanks.

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