Gemma Burns: It means injustice for all

by Carl Gardner on March 9, 2014

Outside the Ministry of Justice on “Grayling Day” on Friday, I spoke to Gemma Burns of Thomas Bingham Chambers, who feels “absolutely passionately” about opposing the government’s legal aid policy, because

it means injustice for all.

She told me that

if people can’t afford to pay for themselves, and there’s no access to properly qualified barristers … then they may end up having to represent themselves. That’s just not fair.

and she was concerned about the impact of self-representation on the criminal courts:

That’s going to increase costs to the criminal courts, because that’s going to increase time, delays … we need to be properly supported – and we’re not.

She surprised me with her confidence about the chances of further action shifting the government, and she was clearly up for further action.

The message needs to be sent loud and clear, as it is today, that this can’t go on. The courts can’t run without our assistance.

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