Working in legal aid – Taking on the state can be frustrating but the ability to effect real change makes the fight worthwhile
Ever since I decided to pursue a career in law I knew that I wanted to do so in order to help individuals to hold public bodies accountable for their actions. So when I qualified in 2015, I focused on civil liberties and mental health law and last year joined the civil liberties team at Hodge Jones & Allen.
We undertake a wide range of work including representing families at inquests, bringing actions against public bodies such as the police, prisons and health service, pursuing miscarriage of justice cases and challenging decisions of public bodies by way of judicial review proceedings.
Legal aid funding plays a huge part in what we do and the reality is that without legal aid a substantial number of people we represent would not be able to pursue their cases. Access to justice should be a right for all and not for the privileged few and that is why legal aid is so important. It means we can stand up for those who are often the most vulnerable in society and ensure those wronged by the state have their voices heard.
This article first appeared in The Lawyer 2B, May 2017.