NI: Way forward for access to justice debated at NI A2J Conference

David Ford MLA
Justice Minister David Ford MLA

On 6 November, Law Centre (NI) and Ulster University Law School hosted a conference examining the future of access to justice.

The conference aimed to generate some discussion on Access to Justice Review 2. Report author Colin Stutt presented his findings, and Justice Minister David Ford MLA called on members of the legal profession, the advice sector and other interested parties to engage in the consultation which ends on 6 February 2016. The Access to Justice Review 2 report can be found on the DoJ website.

Conference speakers developed themes of access to justice, from the role of legal education, the importance of voluntary sector advice, links between university law clinics and legal advisers, the role of technological developments, to the human rights requirements of Access to Justice.

In a climate of funding cuts, the importance of maintaining access to free specialist and generalist legal advice was stressed by speakers throughout the day, as a vital safeguard for those who are most disadvantaged.

Speakers included Professor Pascoe Pleasence, University College London; Matthew Smerdon, Legal Education Foundation; Mr Justice Gillen; NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby; Dr Gráinne McKeever and Pr Eugene McNamee, Ulster University; Ursula O’Hare and Glenn Jordan, Law Centre (NI).

The Ulster University Law School’s research on the role of university law clinics in the access to justice landscape was launched at the conference. The report is available here.

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