From Disparity to Fairness: Enhancing Legal Access in Newham | Fieldfisher
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From Disparity to Fairness: Enhancing Legal Access in Newham



United Kingdom

In the vibrant heart of East London, the borough of Newham weaves together a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and stories. Yet, there lies a pressing challenge: the urgent need for equitable legal access. The recently published report, “Disparity to Fairness: Legal Access in Newham” produced collaboratively by Fieldfisher, the Public Law Project, local MP Stephen Timms, and the Newham community, brings this critical issue into focus.

The report sheds light on the significant hurdles faced by Newham residents when seeking legal advice, particularly in the domains of immigration and housing – two fundamental pillars that underpin a secure and stable life. To gain deeper insights, fee earners from Fieldfisher closely observed Stephen Timms’ constituency appointments, documenting the issues raised by local residents. Often, these concerns arose due to the lack of available legal support.

Beyond identifying the scale of access to justice challenges within Newham, the report puts forth both short-term and long-term solutions. These proposals include not only increasing the number of local legal service providers but also enhancing public legal education and fostering collaboration with community leaders.

Catriona Filmer, Pro Bono Senior Associate, reflects on the report: "As a former legal aid lawyer, I understand the critical role that accessible legal advice plays in our society. It’s a cornerstone of justice, ensuring rights are not just theoretical but practically available to everyone.

Fieldfisher is committed to the principle of ensuring equity in access to justice. We are grateful to the local community for allowing us to work with them and contribute pro bono support to a report that shines a light on these critical issues in Newham. We hope our involvement will inspire and accelerate the changes needed to ensure that justice is not a privilege, but a right accessible to all."