On 30 April 2014, we had a real boost for the campaign – Stephen Fry added his support.
Many months ago we started making a short film about legal aid. The film focuses on people who have received legal aid, and how vital it has been for them. If you follow the political debates and the media coverage, it can sometimes feel like this is about lawyers worrying about their income. It doesn’t matter how much lawyers explain that this is misleading, [such as this letter to the Independent] it just seems to get lost. The film will hopefully show who this fight really is for: everyone who needs justice.
Some of the clips were used in our short film focusing on judicial review, watch here.
If you would like to add your support to the campaign, please sign the petition here
To help promote the cause and the film, we approached some celebrities, some of whom will be featuring in the film alongside legal aid users. The first person we filmed was the marvellous Stephen Fry. He met our co-founder, Matt Foot to be filmed. We love this picture of the two of them together.
Stephen was asked about why he supported the campaign. What was heartening was his belief that access to justice is a fundamental right, and not a privilege.
We were also struck by his conviction that this was not just about those who require legal aid, “Everyone is affected by this,” he said, when asked whom the cuts to legal aid would impact upon.
“We never ever will have a fair society when a huge section of society can’t get represented in court.”
So while Mr Fry will probably never need legal aid, he was clear about wanting to live in a society where it is available. He said:
“Do we want to live in a fair society? We don’t live in a fair universe, we don’t live in a fair natural world. Some things are eaten by bigger things. Obviously there is poverty and there are things that seem very hard to cope with. But this is something, the simplicity of justice in it, is so straightforward and clear. It was Churchill himself who said you judge a society by how you treat its prisoners. And I think it is also true that you judge a society by how good its legal system is.”
Our film will be launched soon, so you can watch people telling their stories about how legal aid helped them, and celebrities including Stephen Fry explaining why they support the campaign to save legal aid. As he says: “Law is all we have and access to the law cannot be just according to income. That would be so unjust.”
If you would like to add your support to the campaign too, please sign the petition here
Thank you to photographer Kalpesh Lathigra who photographed Stephen Fry http://www.kalpeshlathigra.com/