It is a real pleasure to have been asked to give this year’s LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards lecture. My subject is Access to Justice. I am not interested in it as a slogan. I am interested in it because access to justice lies at the heart of any society that aspires to call itself just, civilised, and committed to democracy and the rule of law. And by access to justice I mean effective access to high quality legal advice and representation so that people can understand their rights and obligations, as well as effective access to the civil courts.
We are all acutely aware that there are real pressures on access to justice at the present time; particularly where litigants of limited means are concerned. I want to focus this evening on a number of current and future initiatives that seek to improve access, before outlining a proposal that I hope could be further developed.