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Legal aid is being cut. Courts meet in secret. The UK government is working to abolish the Human Rights Act. Our justice system is in crisis. 

Justice matters to every one of us. It defines our relationship with the state, rebalances discrepancies in power and protects our rights and civil liberties.

But successive governments have compromised and undermined the UK justice system. Key constitutional principles are being eroded.

Many people aren’t paying attention.

Welcome to openJustice where we inspire debate and mobilise support for positive changes in our justice system. We are supported by the human rights lawyers at Leigh Day.

Slavery and access to justice

Today marks the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery but the uncomfortable truth is that modern slavery is rife. The British government could do much more to facilitate justice for victims of modern slavery.

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Slavery and access to justice

Today marks the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery but the uncomfortable truth is that modern slavery is rife. The British government could do much more to facilitate justice for victims of modern slavery.

Hungry, homeless and in need of a legal aid lawyer

Government plans to introduce a discriminatory test for legal aid were thwarted earlier this year. This is why that decision was right.

The British Government is covering up its assistance to torturers and killers worldwide

The UK government is complicit in the execution of political prisoners and protesters abroad and there are serious flaws in the government policy that is supposed to prevent this.

Trump, the judiciary and politics

As the UK media react in anger against the High Court’s involvement in Brexit, America prepares to wave goodbye to the broadly liberal politics upheld in the US Supreme Court.  

A conspiracy cooked up by ‘activist left-wing human rights’ lawyers?

Government and media have denied, dismissed and derided allegations of abuse by British soldiers in Iraq. Over 7 days we’ll interrogate a very British scandal. Day 1: Attack the lawyers.

Fast-tracking medical justice is problematic. Let’s prevent tragedies in the first place.

The way justice is served to families of children damaged during birth is changing but the UK government’s proposals may cut corners and address the consequences rather than the cause.

Crowdfunding and access to justice

Should members of the public make up the access to justice deficit?

The Media Monarchy: the press versus the 'people'

Theresa May may come to regret picking a fight with the law.

Does Britain still uphold the rule of law?

Our hard-won rule of law is being squandered in the name of austerity and a narrow view of national security.

Prisons: places of harm and dehabilitation

Liz Truss promises penal reform but it places profits over people and punishment over rehabilitation.

 

Justice and Britain's democratic crisis

Why oD-UK launches openJustice, focusing on the dismantling UK justice system.

The UK government cannot reconcile austerity measures with human rights

UK governments have claimed austerity measures are necessary while ignoring the disproportionate adverse effects on marginalized groups. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic and social rights.

Brexit and human rights: winter is coming

Given the toxic politics of Farage, Johnson, Le Pen and Trump, will human rights be enough to resist right-wing nationalism in the wake of Brexit?

Now more than ever the UK needs the compass of human rights

It is in uncertain times—like the aftermath of the Brexit vote—that we need human rights the most.

 

The UK government’s inversion of accountability

What to make of a government that increasingly excuses its actions from legal accountability while demanding more and more accountability from citizens? 

Mr Gove and the legal levy proposal

A levy of 10% on legal earnings above £150,000 would provide a major boost for access to justice. And Mr Gove may be interested.

Remembering Sarah Reed

Beaten by a Metropolitan police officer in 2012. Found dead in a prison cell in 2016. Sarah Reed, a black woman, mother, daughter, sister, whose smile could light up a room.

Race relations after 50 years

HIstory tells us that the prime minister's stated aim of ending discrimination is meaningless without the legislation and infrastructure to enforce it.

Human rights and the age of inequality

The human rights regime and movement are simply not equipped to challenge global inequalities.  A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Economic Inequality and Human Rights. EspañolFrançaisالعربية

openDemocracy writer Jenny McCall wins Anti-Slavery Day media award

Story exposing UK government’s failures to protect victims of trafficking judged “best news piece” on modern slavery.

Can Michael Gove save our legal system?

Mr Gove must restore legal aid as a vital element in a fair justice system. 

Transforming the lives of women in trouble

Jobs, safe housing, childcare support. That’s what women need. Not prison.

Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights

Amidst widespread negative views on human rights in the UK, public opinion research can help improve outreach strategies. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Public Opinion and Human RightsEspañolFrançais

Human rights, why should I care? Thalidomide and other stories

Three real life cases from RightsInfo illuminate why human rights matter.

Torturers must be brought to justice

If elements of the British state were involved they must be held accountable. David Cameron has only shirked his responsibilities.

The future of human rights in the UK

A British Bill of Rights will not only allow the Conservative government to deport an individual to a country where they face a real risk of torture, harm or humiliation: the human rights system must be fought for.

In the UK, public discourse undermines support for human rights

The UK media does not do justice to the phrase, “human rights”. Rights activists must shift their framework to earn the public’s support. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ Human Rights: masses or elite movement debate.

When judges disagree - the ECHR and British sovereignty

Although Conservatives cite Lord Judge in support of repealing the human rights act, his actual position on the matter undermines their case for repeal.

Poverty and human rights: can courts, lawyers and activists make a difference?

We have long known that poverty is rooted in power, yet traditional power-blind approaches to poverty remain predominant.  Can a human rights lens and the traditional tools of the movement—rights, courts, lawyers and activists—address underlying issues of power and make a real difference on poverty? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Economic and Social RightsFrançais

Magna Carta - is Cameron for or against?

Cameron is right to commemorate one of the foundation stones of modern liberty, but he cannot at the same time continue to undermine it.

Slavery and the law

There have been laws about slavery since the birth of our legal system. Whilst they might need to be tidied up, the government shouldn't feel that headlines about them being broken in London require a legislative approach, argues Geoffrey Bindman.

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