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oct2015-p05-01
‘An extraordinary publication, with unmatched commitment to publicly-funded law, and insightful and exceptional reporting.’
Welcome to our new look. We hope you like the design changes we have made to Legal Action, which build on the new features that we’ve been introducing since I took over as editor a year ago.
We think it is a particularly strong issue this month.
Our October cover story, by legal affairs journalist Catherine Baksi, looks at the links between social welfare law problems and ill health. The evidence on this is indisputable, but the big question is how legal aid campaigners can seize on this fact to more strongly press the case for better social welfare law provision. Legal Action sees health as the next battleground for legal aid and it is a subject we will return to in the coming months.
We have a rare interview with Hillsborough lawyer Marcia Willis-Stewart. Despite handling some of the most significant and controversial cases of recent times, Marcia has kept a remarkably low profile and makes a fascinating interviewee.
Doughty Street’s Charlotte Kilroy, who was involved in the recent ground-breaking Detention Action asylum detained fast-track case (Legal Action, September 2015), writes movingly about how bad laws are contributing to the current refugee crisis in Europe.
Criminal law solicitor Raj Chada gives a compelling account of 48 hours on the legal aid frontline; and I write in praise of Deighton Pierce Glynn, following its pasting at the hands of the Daily Mail.
Our Law and Practice section continues to be essential reading, with leading experts in their fields writing about key developments in the fields of housing, police stations, police misconduct, community care, social security, and Gypsy and Traveller law.
Legal Action’s key role in the access to justice sector has just been recognised by the 2015 Halsbury Legal Awards, where we won the trophy for legal journalism. The awards judges commented that they ‘rated this extraordinary publication and its small and hugely talented team for reinvention. Its commitment to publicly funded law (highlighting the good and the bad) is unmatched as is its insightful and exceptional reporting.’
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oct2015-p05-03
The award feels like a fitting and timely tribute to Legal Action’s many contributors, whether regular or occasional, recent or longstanding. Our loyal band of authors – some of whom have written for us for two or even three decades – have long been the backbone of the magazine. We have also been lucky enough in recent months to bring on board new writers, including some who are relatively recent entrants to the profession, and their contributions to the magazine, and the whole legal aid debate, are equally invaluable.
At a time of unprecedented threat to access to justice, there has never been a greater need for the kind of informed analysis and comment that only Legal Action can provide. We hope that our readers will help us to continue to play a leading role in this crucial debate by telling us what we are doing right, what we could do better, and what are the issues of most concern to those on the legal aid front line.

About the author(s)

Fiona Bawdon - author
Fiona Bawdon is a London-based journalist, campaigner and researcher, focusing mainly on civil and criminal justice, particularly youth justice.