ACCESS to justice for people in the south west was high on the agenda for a group of delegates from the Devon and Somerset Law Society when they visited the House of Commons.
Exeter solicitor Chris Tagg, of Cartridges Law, was among the party who met the Lord Chancellor, the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss, MP, as well as local MP Kevin Foster, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Baron Armstrong, Baron Tyler and Baroness Jolly.
The meeting was held to highlight some of the issues affecting UK citizens seeking access to justice and particularly those facing eviction or homelessness who are unable to access proper legal advice and support.
Chris, who is chair of the DASLS Contentious Business Committee, said: ‘Representatives listened to what we had to say, relating in particular to the proposed increase in the Personal Injury Small Claims limit, the limited availability of housing solicitors in the south west and the desperate state of criminal justice and criminal legal aid. Liz Truss said that she recognised our concerns and seemed well-versed in the points that were made.
‘These days there are so many issues affecting access to justice it’s important to be able to talk to politicians face-to-face and get your point across. I think it’s worthwhile to make sure our representatives understand the very real and important issues affecting people in Devon and Somerset and the awful hardship which is caused when people do not have access to justice.’
Proposed changes to injury claims will mean that some with genuine complaints are unable to claim their legal costs, effectively denying them legal advice and representation in potentially complex litigation.
Kevin Foster MP for Torbay, who hosted the reception said: ‘I was delighted to again host Devon and Somerset Law Society members at the House of Commons. It was a real highlight to have the Lord Chancellor join us, giving local lawyers from our region the chance to raise the issues that are affecting them and their clients everyday with her.’
The Devon & Somerset Law Society represents around 1,400 solicitors. It campaigns for greater access to justice and regularly meets with MPs and Peers to demonstrate the impact of current policy.