I had a really good meeting with Catherine West MP, the Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, in Parliament earlier this week. Law Centres Network director Julie Bishop (pictured right) and I met Catherine (pictured centre) to discuss Haringey Law Centre and the many positive developments afoot. It’s fantastic to have Catherine – and Tottenham MP David Lammy’s – full support as we try to help Haringey Law Centre colleagues rebuild the Centre.
I was delighted to participate in a recent roundtable discussion on the future of Legal Aid. The roundtable, which was organised by the Justice Alliance and chaired by Guardian journalist Shiv Malik, will be turned into a feature in a special edition of the Justice Gap‘s Proof Magazine. The issue will focus entirely on legal aid.
Other participants at the roundtable included Richard Burgon MP, the Shadow Justice Secretary; Greg Powell, solicitor and former president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association; Deborah Coles, Director of Inquest; Vakas Hussain, barrister and press officer of British Muslim Youth; and Gloria Morrison from campaign group Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association (JENGbA).
The discussion was excellent. Everyone who contributed had a professional or campaign interest in legal aid but it was clear that they also cared deeply about access to justice issues on a personal level. It was an real honour to be invited to take part and be in such esteemed company.
The first two issues of Proof Magazine have focused on ‘Justice in a Time of Moral Panic‘ and ‘The Limits of Open Justice‘. The special issue on legal aid will be published shortly. It promises to be a informative and long overdue read.
I had a brilliant time in Belfast attending the Law Centres Network annual conference, which took place on the 10th and 11th of November 2016. The conference heard from a range of distinguished speakers including Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty; Les Allamby, the Chief Commissioner for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Claire Sugden, the Northern Ireland Justice Minister. The highlight of my trip was visiting Stormont Castle for the official dinner. Stormont is the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the place where the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. A stunning building!
A belated congratulations to all the fantastic finalists and winners at the 2016 Black British Business Awards, which took place on the 6th of October. I was especially delighted that Chichi Nwanoku MBE, founder of the brilliant Chineke Orchestra (with whom I’m pictured below) won the Business Person of the Year award.
Thank you again to Dennis Owusu-Sem of Success Talks for his hospitality.