Quizzing for Justice 2020
I have to confess to being a collector of useless information. I once spent a long flight home from Los Angeles memorising all of the state capitals of the USA. I think the obsession goes back the days of memorising lists of cases when I was a law student. I am also a fan of the TV show Pointless which probably says something.
All of which brings me to the Great North West Virtual Legal Quiz.
But first why are we are we doing this?
In normal circumstances we would be planning the Liverpool Legal Walk. This time last year, I was getting ready for the humiliation of a 5k walk in a Liverpool football shirt! That walk raised about £6k to support agencies which provide free legal advice to those in need.
At a time when the need for this advice has never been greater, we are unable to go ahead with the walk before the Autumn. According to the Access to Justice Foundation there as many as 14m people who are living in poverty and unable to obtain legal assistance. Advice is needed across whole areas of law including Welfare Benefits, Employment, Housing and Family Law. Access to legal aid remains limited –
In the momentous case of Unison v The Lord Chancellor  UKSC 51 (the tribunal fees case) Lord Reed explained why this is so important –
“Courts exist in order to ensure that the laws made by Parliament, and the common law created by the courts themselves, are applied and enforced. That role includes ensuring that the executive branch of government carries out its functions in accordance with the law.
In order for the courts to perform that role, people must in principle have unimpeded access to them. Without such access, laws are liable to become a dead letter, the work done by Parliament may be rendered nugatory, and the democratic election of Members of Parliament may become a meaningless charade”
I will never cease to argue that full access to justice is achieved by a fully funded legal aid system. But there is little sign of that being a reality any time soon. In the meantime, the need doesn’t go away. So we need to do all we can to support the law centres, advice agencies and other charities who will provide this essential service without charge.
So back to the Great Virtual Legal quiz! Without having to leave to comfort of our laptops we can raise important funds for the Community Justice Fund. This is a joint initiative of a number of agencies including the Access to Justice Foundation, The Legal Education Foundation and others.
The fund is open to applications now –
The quiz will also be a chance to socialise with others (although it will probably involve more Zooming!).
And you will have the joy of Steve Bamber Cornforth as host!!
You can register here – http://atjf.org.uk/great-legal-quiz
Further instructions will follow as we get nearer the day.