I am calling for the Secretary of State for Justice to drop his proposals to deny legal aid to many people and will destroy the principle of justice for all in the UK.
In my fight for justice, I have won humanitarian protection in the UK and compensation from the government for detaining me unlawfully when I was held in an immigration detention centre for over three years. I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and bipolar disorder, and from flash backs of my torture in Liberia. I didn’t know if my detention was lawful or not, I was just struggling to survive, to stay alive.
My legal aid solicitor helped me get the evidence to prove to the government that I had been tortured, to put in a new claim for asylum, to apply to be released from the detention centre, to put in a judicial review to challenge the government's decision to detain me.
None of this would have been possible without legal aid. If the government’s devastating new proposals are introduced people like me will be sent back to their torturers.
But this fight isn’t about me, it’s about everyone.
It’s about anyone who believes that the government should be accountable to ordinary people for the decisions they make.
It’s about homeless people and disabled people who often rely on challenging local and national government decisions in Court through judicial reviews to get the services they need, such as special education or emergency housing.
It’s about anyone who finds themselves in a police station after being picked up by the police at a demo or through stop and search. We all want to choose our own solicitor to represent our interests, not be given a cut price solicitor from the lorry company, Eddie Stobart or G4S.
Most of all, it’s about upholding justice in the UK.