Access to justice in Northern Ireland: where do we go from here?
On 6 November, Law Centre (NI) and Ulster University Law School hosted a conference examining the future of access to justice, at Clifton House, Belfast.
The conference aimed to generate some discussion on Access to Justice Review 2.
Report author Colin Stutt presented his findings, which can be found on: www.dojni.gov.uk/publications/access-justice-review-part-2-final-report
Conference speakers discussed the human rights requirements of access to justice, the importance of voluntary sector advice, the role of legal education, links between university law clinics and legal advisers and the role of technological developments.
In a climate of cuts, the importance of maintaining access to free specialist and generalist legal advice was stressed by speakers throughout the day, as a vital safeguard for those who are most disadvantaged.
Closing the conference, Justice Minister David Ford MLA called on members of the legal profession, the advice sector and other interested parties to engage in the consultation which ends on 6 February 2016.
Speakers included Professor Pascoe Pleasence, University College London; Matthew Smerdon, Legal Education Foundation; Mr Justice Gillen, NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby; Marie Anderson, NI Ombudsman, Dr Gráinne McKeever and Pr Eugene McNamee, Ulster University; Ursula O’Hare and Glenn Jordan, Law Centre (NI).
The Ulster University Law School’s research on the role of university law clinics in the access to justice landscape was launched at the conference. The report is available on: www.ulster.ac.uk/lawclinic/files/2014/06/Access-to-Justice-through-Uni-Law-Clinics-November-2015.pdf