Short Cuts – London Review of Books

“A fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the governed is taking place: by restricting access to the law, the state is handing itself an alarming immunity from legal scrutiny. There are several aspects to this: the partial or total withdrawal of state financial support for people who lack the means to pay for legal advice and representation; and for those who can pay, a restriction on which kinds of decision by public bodies can be challenged. In the area in which I work, criminal law, defendants who receive legal aid will lose the right to choose who represents them in court. Meanwhile, the misleadingly named Justice and Security Act, passed earlier this year, enables the government to conceal evidence from litigants by using national security as a trump card. All this is accompanied by an unbending hostility to human rights law, tainted by its association with Europe, even though this legislation at least offers the weak the possibility of redress for abuses by public authorities.”

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London Review of Books, 6th June 2013