01 March 2021
Covid-19, rights and freedoms - Justice Week 2021
The time is right for a vital health check on our rights, our justice system and ultimately on the rule of law, the Bar Council, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) and the Law Society of England and Wales said, as they mark the launch of Justice Week (1 to 5 March) with the United Kingdom still locked-down in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The leaders of the three branches of the legal profession said: “No single occurrence in recent history has had as pervasive, immediate and indelible effect on all our lives, our communities and our institutions as the Covid-19 pandemic. This is as true of our laws and our justice system as it is of other essential public services.
Our most vulnerable citizens, from those at risk of domestic violence to people living in care homes, have struggled to access justice when they have needed it the most. Our courts and tribunals have had to embrace the world of remote hearings almost overnight, and it is not clear if and when normality will return. Our freedoms have been limited and policed in new and at times controversial ways.
“We invite the public to join legal and rights experts to explore and debate what the disruption of the last year has meant for civil liberties, access to legal advice or the way Parliament and government can make and enforce laws in unprecedented times.
“Later this week we will be publishing a major new piece of opinion research, establishing how high justice issues are on the public agenda, what the public thinks the impact of COVID-19 has been on their rights to access justice, and on the justice system more widely, and what government action they want.”
Justice Week aims to improve the ability of the public to access justice by building public support and understanding for the rule of law and justice, increasing public understanding of the role of government in the justice system and identifying and securing support for actions which could improve justice.
Click here for a full list of Justice Week Activities