Last updated:2023-09-18
Lord Neuberger criticises current lack of access to justice
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Outgoing president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger (pictured), argued in a recent speech that it ‘verges on the hypocritical for governments to bestow rights on citizens while doing very little to ensure that those rights are enforceable’. He was providing the welcome address at the Australian Bar Association Biennial Conference held in July.
In his speech, Lord Neuberger lamented the changes to the civil legal aid system over the past 20 years, which he said had resulted in many people facing ‘the unedifying choice of being driven from the courts or having to represent themselves’. He praised the efforts of not-for-profit advice centres and pro bono lawyers in trying to mitigate the impact of the changes, but argued that ‘the provision of legal aid is a necessary part of access to justice, which in turn is a fundamental aspect of the rule of law’.
Lady Hale was appointed the new president of the Supreme Court in July. She will take office on 2 October. Until the appointment of Lady Justice Black, also announced in July, Lady Hale was the only female Supreme Court justice.