The leaked manifesto and the legal system…
12 May 2017 by Lauren Hancock
With the 2017 snap election fast approaching, the eyes of the country and indeed the world are fixed firmly upon Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Amidst this uncertain political climate, the media were sent into frenzy this week following the reported leak of the Labour party’s draft manifesto.
Labour’s “for the many, not the few” campaign launched on the 9th May with Jeremy Corbyn pledging to “create a Britain that works for everyone”. Just two days later a draft of the Labour party’s general election manifesto was leaked to the media. Whilst Labour declined to comment, a spokesman for the Conservative party was quick to dub the scandal “a total shambles”.
According to the leaked manifesto if elected, Labour will scrap tuition fees, ban zero hour contracts, re-nationalise the railways and introduce four additional public holidays.
Labour’s plans for the Country’s legal system have received less media attention. Within the draft document the party alleges that, “Justice is becoming the preserve of the rich. Those who can afford a lawyer and to go to the courts.” Labour proposes to re-establish entitlements to legal aid in the private law arena of the family courts and in matters of judicial review. In addition, the party intends to manage court fees.
This proposal will be welcomed by many given the escalating cost of bringing a claim to trial. In 2013 the maximum fee for the issue of civil court proceedings in the High Court or County Court totalled £1,670. This figure now stands at £10,000 arguably, in the eyes of Corbyn’s Labour party, limiting access to justice to “the ordinary man or woman”.
Labour also proposes an overhaul of the criminal justice system. Since 1993 the number of those incarcerated in the UK has increased by more than 41,000, a 92% increase. The Party’s manifesto plans the recruitment of 3,000 more prison officers to deal with this, in addition to the recruitment of 10,000 more police officers nationwide.
Political campaigning is set to continue over the coming weeks and whether Corbyn’s plans will earn him the keys to Downing Street remains to be seen. With the Conservative manifesto tipped to be published next week, the Tories views on an overhaul of the civil and criminal justice system remains a mystery. Whomever takes power though, it seems clear, that changes to the system are required to ensure proper access to justice for all.
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