Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Justice in a Time of Austerity

Stories From a System in Crisis

By Jon Robins and Daniel Newman

Published

Jun 1, 2022

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529213133

Dimensions

216 x 138 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 22, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529213126

Dimensions

216 x 138 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 22, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529213140

Dimensions

216 x 138 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 22, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529213140

Dimensions

216 x 138 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Justice in a Time of Austerity

How are poverty and social inequality entrenched through a failing justice system?

In this important book, Jon Robins and Daniel Newman examine how the lives of people already struggling with problems with their welfare benefits, jobs, housing and immigration are made much harder by cuts to legal aid and the failings of our creaking justice system.

Over the course of 12 months, interviews were carried out on the ground in a range of settings with people as they were caught up in the justice system, in a range of settings such as foodbanks in a church hall in a wealthy part of London; a community centre in a former mining town; a homeless shelter for rough sleepers in Birmingham; and a destitution service for asylum seekers in a city on the South coast, as well as in courts and advice agencies up and down the country.

The authors argue that a failure to access justice all too often represents a catastrophic step in the life of the person concerned and their family.

This powerful, yet moving, account humanises the hostile political debates that surround legal aid and reveals what access to justice really means in Austerity Britain.

“[This] powerful and important book shows the human impact of austerity… should be read by all politicians and policy advisers.” The Times

“A timely and vital exposé of the pressures exerted upon our justice system by a decade of political neglect, giving a much-needed voice to those who, as a result, have found themselves cut off from justice.” The Secret Barrister

“The effects of COVID-19 have increased unemployment, poverty and evictions. Those without means need support to access justice. But this timely book shows there is no true equality of arms.” Penelope Gibbs, Transform Justice

“Successive governments have been keen to emasculate challenge, and suppress the impoverished. Long before austerity, long before COVID-19, right up to the 2021 Budget. No mention of justice, let alone provision. This book has the history, has the contemporary narrative. It is the voice missing from the empty rhetoric of politicians and gives a stark measure of a society without due process.” Michael Mansfield QC

“A much-needed addition to the literature on the devastation of austerity in the UK. This book sheds light on one of the most important – yet least highlighted – aspects of how austerity policies shattered lives and vital safeguards in our society: access to justice in the civil and family courts for people without means.” Mary O'Hara, author and journalist

“A journey through, and call-to-arms for, austerity Britain, where access to justice in housing, food, benefits, the right to remain and family life is denied through poverty and inequality – and by design.” Steve Tombs, The Open University

“A valuable contribution to debates on access to justice beyond academia with an interesting and engaging style of vignettes to tell a bigger story.” Lucy Welsh, University of Sussex

“This book should be a call to arms. If you are a tribune of the people who has ever poured scorn on “activist lawyers”, I dare you to read this. If you are a lawyer or even a concerned citizen who has never felt comfortable with the “activist” tag, it may just tempt you to reconsider.” Baroness Shami Chakrabarti

“This important book chronicles the struggles of those excluded from the justice system and the difficulties of the professionals still trying to help. It issues a powerful case for change.” Hannah Quirk, King's College, London

Jon Robins is an award-winning freelance journalist, author and a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in the Department of Law and Criminology. He has written about justice issues for over 20 years for the Guardian, The Times, The Independent on Sunday, The Mail on Sunday and Observer, as well as two books on miscarriages of justice. He is the founder of The Justice Gap Website: https://www.thejusticegap.com/author/jon-robins/

Daniel Newman is Senior Lecturer in Law at Cardiff University. He researches and writes extensively on topics around access to justice, including on a bestselling book on the impact of legal aid cuts and numerous journal articles.

Conveyor Belt Justice

In the Shadow of Grenfell

On the Streets

Christmas at the Foodbank

Meeting the Real ‘Daniel Blakes’

Caught in a Hostile Environment

Deserts and Droughts

Heading for Breakdown

Death by a Thousand Cuts

A Way Forward