Fair access ‘an important issue for all interested in social and legal justice in Scotland’

This year’s special student edition of the Scottish Legal Action Group’s monthly journal comments was published today.  This edition is free and available for download as a PDF.

The journal includes two items of direct relevance to the CFALP campaign.  The first is an article by Tim Haddow, a CFALP steering group member, discussing the need for change to ensure law graduates can compete equally for entry to the legal profession regardless of background (p212 of the paper edition / PDF).

The second is a strongly worded editorial endorsing our argument that fair access to the profession matters to wider society as it is the basis for creating a fairer legal system.  In the piece, Andrew Wilson, editor of the SCOLAG Legal Journal says:

Our legal profession is an integral part of our systems of civil and criminal justice. Indeed, in every day practice, in being the source of advice and representation for fellow citizens and in providing the ranks from which our judiciary is drawn, to a great extent the profession is our legal system.

Questions can and must always be asked as to whether our legal profession is fair and inclusive in respect of the established discrimination sensitive characteristics of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation and age. Yet the profession cannot be said to be accessible at all if socio-economic
status is a deciding factor or bar to entry. Unless that is, one is borrowing a phrase from Sir James Mathew LJ, and asserting that the legal profession in Scotland is open to all – like the Ritz hotel!

In introducing Tim Haddow’s article, the editorial states:

[T]he article highlights and an important issue not just for students and the legal profession but for all interested in social and legal justice in Scotland.

For far too long the issue of proper and fair funding for professional legal education has not been dealt with satisfactorily. Universities, government and the professional bodies all have a particular stake in professional legal education yet with none being in or accepting control of the matter. Yet the issue is too important to continue to go unaddressed and unresolved.

CFALP supporters are encouraged to follow the link to the SCOLAG website and download the journal to read the full article and editorial.

About SCOLAG

The purpose of the Group is to promote equal access to justice in Scotland, explain and improve
the law and legal services. The Group seeks to improve and advance Scots law for the benefit of
those members of society who are economically, socially, or otherwise disadvantaged.

For more information, see www.scolag.org.  SCOLAG are also very keen to welcome interested law students and graduate to their AGM on the evening of 26 September at the Mackenzie Building in Edinburgh.

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