Legal Justice Together – Call for Action”, Saturday 15 March 2014

This FREE one day conference in Manchester covered the massive challenges to publicly funded legal advice services locally, regionally and  nationally.

Access to legal justice and advice is under sustained attack. Crises are mounting and our communities are suffering harms, with intolerable cuts already to advice provision and legal aid and more, punitive,  legal aid cuts planned, across criminal and civil law.
Access To Advice organised the conference to:
  • Bring together practitioners and all those affected by cuts to legal aid and legal advice provision – in both criminal and civil law.
  • Share updates on what’s happening and planned in each area of law and provision.
  • Update on and plan campaign actions  for positive change at local, regional and national level.
The day was a mix of lead speakers, discussions and workshop sessions. Your contributions and suggestions were welcomed throughout the day.
Speakers included:
Mark George QC, criminal legal aid barrister, Head of  Chambers, Garden Court North
Steve Hynes, Director of the Legal Action Group
Lord Low, Chair of the Low Commission on the future of  social welfare advice and legal support
Denise McDowell, Director of the Greater Manchester  Immigration Aid Unit.
Speaking on the current situation, and campaigning for positive change and  resilience.
Discussions covered:
  • Impact of April 2013 legal aid cuts, including: Domestic Violence, Welfare Reform, Poverty.
  • Future changes and impacts, including Immigration Bill and Residence Test for legal aid; Judicial Review: prisoners rights; criminal law – representation, fees and viability.
  • Strategies for survival now, including the challenges of: commissioning; pro bono/ volunteer services; charging.
  • Fighting back – current campaigns, strategies and tactics – sharing and developing ideas for action.

The final programme and a list of invaluable resources were circulated. One of the major outcomes of the conference was the unanimous adoption of the Manchester Declaration.

The free conference was held on Saturday 15 March 2014, 10am to 4pm
at The Mechanics Institute Conference Centre, 103 Princess St, Manchester M1 6DD.
The venue was accessible by wheelchair. If you have any particular access needs, please let us know and we will endeavour to meet these.
Places were booked by emailing
Our flyer was circulated widely.
Short and long reports from the conference are available now, sharing information on the current challenges and showing the energy and commitment to campaign for positive change. Please read the reports and use them to campaign and fight back.
The conference is sponsored by: