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What Magna Carta legacy?

It took this government less than 12 months to wipe out 800 years of progress since the Magna Carta. So much for celebrating the rule of law, says Kerry Underwood

6 March 2014

"In England justice is open to all, like the Ritz hotel", the saying goes. Even though the exact wording and source are argued about, its meaning is clear. However from 1948 until very recently legal aid meant that the courts in England and Wales were not just the preserve of the wealthy.

The dramatic attack on access to the courts in the last 12 months has been launched on several fronts. Legal aid has been all but abolished in civil cases; prohibitively high employment tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees have seen the number of claims slump; court fees are about to treble in some cases; judicial review is being emasculated and barristers are on strike in criminal matters because of the uneconomic fees.

Add to that the Court of Appeal's Mitchell decision - which you will be delighted to know I will not mention again in this piece - and one might think that 800 years of progress since Magna Carta

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