Solicitor Bambos Charalambous was appointed as a member of the Justice Committee in September. Charalambous worked for Hackney Council in the housing litigation team prior to being elected Labour MP for the north London seat of Enfield, Southgate at the general election in June.
Charalambous (pictured) was previously a local councillor and played an active role in establishing Enfield Law Centre, which was forced to close in October 2008. ‘The Law Centre provided an invaluable service to local people,’ he told Legal Action. He believes ‘it was a travesty it had to close’ due to changes to the legal aid scheme.
The MP confirmed that access to justice is at the ‘top of the list of things I want to focus on’ as a member of the Justice Committee. ‘I’m worried that advice deserts are making it increasingly difficult for people to get legal advice,’ he added. In his constituency, he said, there is a ‘lack of legal aid practices’ and it is ‘wrong’ that his constituents have to travel so far to get advice.
The other members of the committee have been confirmed as:
•Bob Neill (chair) (Conservative);
•Kemi Badenoch (Conservative);
•Ruth Cadbury (Labour);
•Alex Chalk (Conservative);
•David Hanson (Labour);
•John Howell (Conservative);
•Gavin Newlands (SNP);
•Laura Pidcock (Labour);
•Victoria Prentis (Conservative); and
•Ellie Reeves (Labour).
As Legal Action
went to press, the committee was due to meet in October and was expected to consider the review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (see The LASPO review stalled: will the new Justice Committee act?
). It was also due to consider a review of the probation service.