NewsBites - October 2013

Secret legal service?
There has been a “disturbing reduction” in the take-up of legal aid cases in civil law, says the Legal Action Group. Figures obtained from the Legal Aid Agency for the first quarter of the current year (2013/14) show that 3,866 fewer people than predicted received civil legal aid – a total shortfall of 52%, with the lowest shortfall in education law at 12% and the highest in discrimination law at 77%.

Civil legal aid – the secret legal service? identifies a combination of factors, including the reduction in the number of organisations offering legal aid, a perception amongst the public that they can no longer get help with any civil law problems, complicated bureaucracy, and a failure by the government to advertise adequately the availability of services. Read the paper at

Clean Break
The theatre company working with women whose lives have been affected by the criminal justice system is presenting Billy the Girl, written by Katie Hims and directed by Lucy Morrison, at the Soho Theatre from 29 October to 24 November. Clean Break operates a year-round programme of theatre productions, new writing projects and drama-based education from its North London studios and in women’s prisons. On 13 November, post-show panellists will discuss concepts of chaos and women in the criminal justice system. Tickets are available from the box office on 020 7478 0100 or See also