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Access to Justice

Access to Justice

The Ministry Of Justice Marked Down One Of Its Analysts Because She Called Out Problems With Its Sex Offender Programme

Exclusive: An employment tribunal seen by BuzzFeed News has found the MoJ gave Kathryn Hopkins a mark of “must improve” in her midyear review as a result of her whistleblowing.

The Ministry Of Justice Is Using A Bailiff Company To Chase Legal Aid Payments, And People Say They Feel “Threatened”

Exclusive: The average amount of debt being chased by bailiffs for the Legal Aid Agency has almost doubled since 2012, even as the MoJ announced “a crackdown on rogue bailiffs”.

An Academic Has Accused The Ministry Of Justice Of Changing Research That “Contradicted Its Policy”

Kathryn Hopkins, who has taken her former employer to tribunal, said the government department had a culture of making research look more favourable.

An Academic Said She Was Bullied At The Ministry Of Justice After Revealing It Was Running A Programme That Made Sex Offenders More Likely To Reoffend

Kathryn Hopkins’ study of the controversial Sex Offender Treatment Programme, believed to be attended by rapist John Worboys among others, found it made prisoners more likely to offend again.

A Woman Died In Prison Six Years Beyond The Sentence For Her Crime. Now Her Family Have To Crowdfund To Prepare For Her Inquest

Charlotte Nokes had serious mental health problems and died in Peterborough prison after being held more than six years beyond the sentence for her crime.

The Ministry Of Justice Has Been Accused Of Sitting On Evidence That Undermines Its Drive To Close Courts

Exclusive: Survey data left out of a published MoJ report showed that users of the justice system had a significantly more positive appearance if they had physically been in court.

Victims Of Discrimination Will No Longer Have To Go Through Phone Vetting Before Meeting A Lawyer

The move is one of several announced in a review of legal aid changes, though many feel it does not go far enough. One judge told BuzzFeed News: "To call it a damp squib would be an understatement."

This Leaked Report Says Moving Justice Online Might Lead To Innocent People Pleading Guilty

Exclusive: The Magistrates Association says court reform proposals present “a very real risk of unfair or disproportionate outcomes for the most vulnerable people in our courts”.

Ministry Of Justice Staff Called A BuzzFeed Journalist “Crazy” And A “Bitch” After She Published A Leaked Report

A senior lawyer said heavily redacted internal MoJ messages obtained by BuzzFeed News showed staff were “deliberately frustrating legitimate journalistic inquiry”.

Judges Warn Video Hearings Could Lead To Witnesses Being Coached Off Camera And Footage Appearing On YouTube

Exclusive: A leaked report seen by BuzzFeed News reveals district judges warned of the risk of "the likes of Tommy Robinson" posting videos or broadcasting live on social media.

This Leaked Document Shows Judges Are Furious About The State Of The Courts

Exclusive: “The reality is that there has been ... a haemorrhaging of experienced staff, a serious decline in staff and judicial morale, delays in all aspects of process and court systems that are even more broken.”

This Former Judge Has Condemned The Government For Leaving People In Court With No Lawyer

Exclusive: Sir James Munby, former president of the family court, said there is “a very real concern” about the state of justice.

Family Lawyers Are Turning Away Thousands Of People In Child Access Battles Thanks To Legal Aid Cuts

Exclusive: New research seen by BuzzFeed News shows that the number of people being turned away by family lawyers has risen fourfold since 2014.

Their Relatives Were Crushed To Death At Work. Now These Families Are Having To Crowdfund For Justice.

Five men were killed by a wall collapsing at Hawkeswood Metal plant in Birmingham. Their families were expected to represent themselves at the inquest despite not speaking any English.

People Taking The Government To Court Were Denied Legal Aid After Whitehall Officials Were Briefed On Their Cases

Exclusive: Internal emails seen by BuzzFeed News show officials in ministers’ private offices discussed legal aid applications with supposedly independent decision-makers before they were rejected.

The Equalities Watchdog Will Investigate Whether Victims Of Discrimination Are Being Denied Justice By Legal Aid Cuts

Exclusive: The chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission told BuzzFeed News that Britain now faces a "two-tier" system with justice only for the rich.

This Baby Was Born Stateless Because Of "Avoidable" Home Office Delays

Hajer Alwadaei was needlessly born without a nationality in London. BuzzFeed News has uncovered evidence of multiple failings in the Home Office's handling of stateless people like her.

Britain’s Most Senior Judge Says Problems In The Justice System Are "Too Numerous To Mention, Let Alone Address”

The comments from the president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, have been made public as a report from MPs says cuts to criminal justice risk undermining the rule of law.

The Ministry Of Justice Has Just Released A Report It Denied Even Existed

“The MoJ's handling of this FOI request has been nothing short of disastrous,” one barrister told BuzzFeed News.

A Criminal Investigation Has Been Launched Into The Ministry Of Justice After A Buried Report Was Leaked To BuzzFeed News

The Information Commissioner's Office has begun a criminal investigation into the Ministry of Justice over allegations the department broke Freedom of Information law.

The Government Has Been Reported To The Information Commissioner Over A Report Leaked To BuzzFeed News

Concealing a document to prevent it being disclosed is a potential offence under the Freedom of Information Act.

This Leaked Report Reveals The Stark Warnings From Judges About Defendants With No Lawyer

“Some of them just sit there like a rabbit in the headlights and haven’t got a clue what’s going on," one judge said in a report leaked to BuzzFeed News.

Victims Of Trafficking Were Refused Free Legal Advice Because The Government Got The Law Wrong

"The government's cruel decision to deny legal aid for trafficking victims created unnecessary suffering and distress."

A Mother Who Said She Was Raped By Her Abusive Ex-Husband Had No Lawyer In A Family Court Case Against Him

A judge has expressed dismay that a woman trying to protect her 10-year-old daughter from her abusive ex-partner was denied legal aid, which may have led to a miscarriage of justice.

The Government Tried To Bury This Research Showing Judges' Concerns About The Rise In People Defending Themselves In Court

Exclusive: Research obtained by BuzzFeed News shows judges were worried in 2015 that legal aid cuts were resulting in more people appearing in court with no lawyer.

This Is Why Barristers Are Walking Out Of Courts This Week

Barristers across England and Wales are being urged to join a mass strike over reductions to legal aid, as outlined in a series of BuzzFeed News reports.

A Groundbreaking Study Has Found People Living Below The Poverty Line Are Being Denied Free Legal Help

The means test for legal aid has not been updated since 2010 and a report for the Law Society shows this means people living in poverty are not getting access to a lawyer.

An 18-Year-Old Asylum-Seeker Who Hardly Speaks English Had To Fight His Appeal Without A Lawyer

The number of people given public funding to fight an immigration case is lower than in any previous quarter on record, BuzzFeed News can reveal.

There's Been A Huge Increase In People Being Denied A Lawyer Because Of A "Dehumanised" Test

More people are being refused a legal aid lawyer in criminal cases even though they qualify for financial help, figures obtained under a freedom of information request by BuzzFeed News have revealed.

Magistrates Say Children Suffer In Family Court Hearings When Their Parents Have No Lawyers

An exclusive survey by the Magistrates Association for BuzzFeed News found that in magistrates' most recent family court hearings, 68% of people represented themselves, up from 41% in 2014.

This Man Had To Face Drugs Charges With No Lawyer Because He Couldn’t Afford One

An exclusive survey of magistrates for BuzzFeed News shows 30% of all criminal defendants they saw at their last session had no lawyer, up from 24% in 2014.

The Families Of Those Killed In One Of Britain's Deadliest Terror Attacks Have To Crowdfund To Afford A Legal Challenge

Julie Hambleton, whose sister died in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, told BuzzFeed News it was “outrageous” that they have no legal aid for a court battle next week.

Immigration Judges Say “Too Many People Are Banged Up” In Detention

A Bar Council report shown exclusively to BuzzFeed News reveals many detainees do not get the legal advice they're entitled to, and are held for months for no crime.

Legal Aid Cuts Have Ended Up Costing The Taxpayer Money Because Disputes Spiral

A Law Society report seen by BuzzFeed News shows early legal advice means people resolve their issues faster, costing the court system less.

Not A Single Discrimination Case Was Referred To A Legal Aid Lawyer In The Past Year

Ministry of Justice figures seen by BuzzFeed News show that for the first time, not a single case was referred.

A Senior Judge Has Suggested Charging The Government For Every "No-Brainer" Benefits Case It Loses In Court

Sir Ernest Ryder, senior president of tribunals, said the quality of evidence provided by the Department for Work and Pensions is so poor it would be “wholly inadmissible” in any other court.

This Grandmother Had To Fight Without A Lawyer To Stop A Local Authority Putting Her Grandchild Up For Adoption

Gloucestershire County Council attempted to stop journalists naming the authority, but this was successfully challenged in court by BuzzFeed News and two other news outlets.

The Families Of 11 People Who Died In An Airshow Disaster Were Turned Down For Legal Aid

Theresa May has pledged to investigate why the families had their application for exceptional legal aid funding rejected. Lawyers say the case illustrates the huge barriers to getting funding for public interest cases.

Cutting Legal Aid To Families Has Had The Entirely Opposite Effect To The One The Government Intended

The Ministry of Justice took funding away from divorce law so more couples would seek mediation – but they are choosing to go to court with no lawyer instead.

The Government Just Confirmed It Will Review Its Legal Aid Cuts

Justice minister David Lidington said the review would look into changes to eligibility for free legal advice, among other things

The Government Says It Is Finally Going To Review The Impact Of Its Legal Aid Cuts

Justice secretary David Lidington told MPs he would announce a review in “the very near future”, after politicians and lawyers told BuzzFeed News "injustices" were happening daily because of the cuts.

The Tory MP Who Chairs The Justice Committee Says The Government Went Too Far When It Cut Legal Aid

Conservative MP Bob Neill told BuzzFeed News the government could no longer “treat the law like a commodity”

This Man Had To Defend Himself Without A Lawyer Via Videolink With Terrible Audio. He Lost.

A court transcript shows Folarin Oyebola was inaudible 71 times in his hearing, as new research suggests people representing themselves via videolink are disadvantaged in court.

This Judge Says He Cries When He Has To Take Children Away From Their Parents

Stephen Wildblood, a senior family law judge, spoke to BuzzFeed News about helping the growing number of people facing court without a lawyer.

Lawyers And Politicians Say "Injustices" Are Happening Every Day Because Of Legal Aid Cuts

The government is under pressure to review the cuts after BuzzFeed News revealed a sharp rise in people left with no choice but to represent themselves in court.

A Record Number Of People Are Representing Themselves In Court – This Is What It's Like

Exclusive: The number of people seeking support in court because they have no lawyer is up 520% since 2011. BuzzFeed News spent three days in Birmingham's courts to find out how these people cope.

A Woman Who Begged For 50p Was Sentenced To Six Months In Prison In A Hearing Where She Had No Lawyer

The case was described by legal experts as "a damning indictment of our criminal justice system”, while the judge who sentenced her said he was "disturbed and concerned" by the situation.

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