Ten years since the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), an exciting new partnership offers hope to those facing court alone.
Leeds Beckett University’s Leeds Law School has partnered with Support Through Court, a charity that provides free legal assistance and information to people who cannot access legal aid or afford a lawyer.
Pre-2013, the civil legal aid system provided vital legal advice for people facing employment, housing, debt, and family law problems but LASPO removed whole areas of law from the scope of public funding, leaving more people than ever having to face court alone.
The partnership will enable Support Through Court to continue its life-changing work in Leeds and West Yorkshire. Students and academics from Leeds Law School will be essential to the charity’s activity.
Now more than ever, the Leeds community needs this support, as the cost of living crisis throws more people into desperate situations.
Students from Leeds Beckett gain practical work experience through the partnership, allowing them to provide legal support to those going through the civil and family court system. Those facing court alone can access support by phone, face-to-face, and at court hearings.
On Wednesday 19 April, we came together to celebrate the partnerships with the Leeds legal community, HMCTS, senior judiciary, third sector agencies, and The Lord Mayor of Leeds. We will hear first-hand from volunteers and the judiciary, about the importance of this partnership, to the people of Leeds, who cannot access the help of a lawyer for life-changing issues, which risk devastating outcomes such as loss of access to children and homelessness.
Professor Deveral Capps, Dean of Leeds Law School, said:
“I am delighted that Leeds Beckett University can assist in the very important work Support Through Court does. Over the course of the next five years, Leeds Law School will provide student volunteers, telephone facilities, and face-to-face meeting spaces to help members of the public get free information and legal help. It is a testament to the reputation of Leeds Law School that Support Through Court chose to work with us.”
Emma Taylor, Interim Chief Executive Officer for Support Through Court, said:
“Cuts to our services and the rising cost of living mean that our support is needed more than ever before. This is an exciting partnership that is enabling us to provide practical and emotional support to more people going through court alone.”