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Justice Matters: Essays from the Pandemic

Edited by: Sue James

ISBN13: 9781913648053
Published: September 2020
Publisher: Legal Action Group
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £10.00

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Justice Matters is a collection of essays which together tell a powerful story of the impact of COVID-19, the responses to it, and the hope for change. It seeks to document, in some small way, the effects of the pandemic viewed through the lens of the justice system.

We are living through an unprecedented public health crisis. As the pandemic gathered pace, we started to see much more clearly that those in food poverty, from BAME backgrounds, in poor housing, insecure employment, the homeless, the elderly and the disabled were the worst affected. The virus exposed the underlying structural health, race and class inequality in British society. We saw that a decade of austerity had eviscerated health and social care and public services and plunged the justice system into crisis.

But we also saw hope and what can be achieved if there is the political will. The homeless were housed and those seeking asylum were released from immigration detention. There was a stay on possession cases and a moratorium on benefit sanctions. Ordinary people looked out for each other in ways that we would not previously have imagined. We have worked together and shown what is possible through campaigning, community activism and public pressure, as well as legal challenges. The pandemic presents an opportunity for social-justice lawyers to catch the attention of the public, a chance to tell the stories we witness every day and to create solutions that help to build a more just and equal society.

Justice Matters provides perspectives from frontline workers in community groups and legal observers at the Black Lives Matter protests, lawyers working with the most vulnerable throughout the pandemic, academia, members of the judiciary and parliament and Baroness Hale of Richmond on the constitution.

Justice Matters is not intended as an end in itself but as the beginning and as a component of a larger discussion about the future, about equality and about justice.

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