This is the time of year when lawyers are seen walking the streets of towns and cities across the country. Today is
’s turn. On Wednesday this week it
was the turn of Manchester Liverpool. In fact, it is not
just lawyers. Liverpool saw local politicians,
advice workers and concerned citizens walking with solicitors, barristers and
judges. The lead walkers included the Lord Mayor, the High Sheriff, President
of Liverpool Law Society together with the Chairs of the Women’s Layers Group
and the Junior Lawyers Group.
As we walked past one family near the Pier Head I heard someone say – ‘I don’t know what that’s all about.’ So what is it all about? It is about Access to Justice for all.
The primary purpose of the walk is to raise funds for the North West Legal Support Trust. The Trust provides grants to agencies which offer free legal advice and help to those in greatest need. The need for these agencies has grown dramatically since drastic cuts to legal aid funding have seen thousands deprived of the right to legal advice unless they have the money to pay for it. You would expect this need to be met by society. But it isn’t, by a long distance. So the burden falls onto the third sector. The money raised via the walks helps many places to keep their doors open. My first proper job as a lawyer was at the Vauxhall Law Centre in
Liverpool. That is one organisation
which has stayed open following support from the trust.
There is more to the walks than just fundraising. They present a great opportunity for lawyers and others concerned with justice, to make a statement that it is important. As one leading judge said at the end of the walk –
'You can have all the human rights in the world but they mean nothing without the means to enforce them'
The walks are also an occasion when hard working lawyers can let their hair down and bring some humour to the streets. So we had walkers dressed as the Titanic and Yellow Submarine posing with George and Ringo (above), scouse celebrities and hair curlers! This year’s
Liverpool walk was the best so far in so many different ways.
But the main reason we walk in cities across the land is to show that access to justice is an important right. There are not many votes in justice. She is not missed until she is needed. There are those who refuse to be silent until this is addressed. And their numbers are growing buy the day.
Ps you can still donate to the Liverpool Walk here –