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Surrey Law Society Reaches Out to Election Candidates on Key Justice Issues

24th June 2024

As we approach the upcoming General Election, Surrey Law Society has taken proactive steps to engage with all main candidates in Surrey. Representing over 1,000 legal professionals in the region, we are committed to ensuring that our members and the wider community are well-informed about the candidates’ positions on crucial justice-related matters. Our outreach aims to address key issues affecting Surrey, particularly concerning legal aid provision, support for vulnerable individuals, court delays, and overall improvements to the justice system.


Addressing Legal Aid Deserts

One of the critical issues highlighted in our communication is the emergence of ‘legal aid deserts’ in large areas of England and Wales, including Surrey. Legal aid deserts are regions where individuals on low incomes struggle to access the legal aid advice they are entitled to, especially in areas such as housing, community care, education, and immigration. This issue leaves many vulnerable individuals without the expert advice and support they need.


The Access to Justice Report by the South West London Law Centres (SWLLC), launched at the University of Surrey’s School of Law Access to Justice Clinic by His Honour Sir Robin Knowles CBE, underscores the urgent need for accessible legal aid and representation. This report has brought significant attention to the challenges faced by vulnerable people in Surrey, and we have called on the candidates to share their plans to address this pressing issue.


Support for Vulnerable Individuals

We have also sought candidates’ views on how they plan to enhance support services for vulnerable individuals dealing with critical legal issues. Ensuring that those in need have access to the necessary legal resources and support is paramount, and we are keen to understand the specific measures each candidate would implement to achieve this.


Court Delays and Justice System Improvements

Another major concern is the significant delays in the court system, particularly with the Crown Court backlog reaching record highs. We have asked candidates what steps they would take to address these delays, which affect both victims and defendants. Furthermore, we are interested in their broader plans for improving the justice system in Surrey to ensure it operates efficiently and fairly for all.


Supporting Local Legal Businesses

In addition to these issues, the sustainability of local legal businesses is crucial. We have requested detail about the candidates’ proposals to support these businesses, ensuring they can continue to provide essential services to the community.


Keeping Our Members Informed

Surrey Law Society is committed to keeping members updated on the responses from the candidates and hope that their perspectives on these critical issues will assist in making informed decisions in the upcoming election.