I worked with Steve over the years on many campaigns and was always impressed at how he spoke out, without fear or favour, advancing the cause of access to justice. Others, too, speak warmly of his time at LAG, from which he recently stepped down as director after 11 years.
‘I have been lucky enough to have had the benefit of Steve’s knowledge, experience and advice for many years,’ Lord Bach says. ‘It began when I was legal aid minister and was at its most telling when we were fighting Part 1 of the LASPO Bill in parliament. Without Steve’s commitment and good sense, we could never had put up the fight we did. What’s more he has been proved right in every respect. He also gave valuable and powerful evidence to the commission I chaired on access to justice
, which played a major part in our recommendations. He remains a superb champion for access to justice.’
One of Steve’s most important initiatives while at LAG was the establishment of the Low Commission on the Future of Advice and Legal Support
. He assembled a cast of nine commissioners under the chairmanship of Lord Low, the cross-bench peer. When Lord Low saw the qualifications of his fellow commissioners, he said he wasn’t sure he merited a place among such a high-powered group. ‘That’s why we thought you’d be the ideal person to be the chair,’ Steve replied. ‘Steve’s open and relaxed style ensured that the group gelled perfectly,’ says Lord Low. ‘Steve has said that the Low Commission was one of his most enjoyable experiences at LAG, but he really deserves the credit for creating that atmosphere.’