Labour Manifesto 2017:
We all need access to the Justice system to protect us from those who would deny us our rights. Labour will set out to make Britain a fair society with liberties for all, governed by the rule of law, and in which the law is enforced equally.
The Conservatives threaten our Human Rights Act and may withdraw us from the European Convention of Human Rights. Labour will retain the Human Rights Act.
Justice is all too often denied. Too many ordinary people know this. There are football fans, trade unionists, environmental activists and people living with disabilities whose personal experiences provide first-hand testimony.
Labour will hold public inquiries into historic injustices. We will open inquiries into Orgreave and blacklisting. We will release all papers relating to the Shrewsbury 24 trials and the 37 Cammell Laird shipyard workers.
Justice today has become the preserve of the rich. Budget cuts mean that thousands are deprived of fair resolutions. Justice is eroded by the poor decisions of privatised assessments, by the withdrawal of legal aid, by the removal of appeal rights, by the delays arising from overcrowded courts and by the costs of fees.
Eligibility for legal aid has been withdrawn across a whole range of areas. This has had disturbing consequences for the delivery of justice.
Democracy is founded upon the rule of law and judicial independence. We will also review the judicial appointments process, to ensure a judiciary that is more representative of our society.
Labour will immediately re-establish early advice entitlements in the Family Courts. The shameful consequences of withdrawal have included a requirement for victims of domestic abuse to pay doctors for certification of their injuries. Labour’s plans will remove that requirement. At the same time, we will legislate to prohibit the cross examination of victims of domestic violence by their abuser in certain circumstances.
We will reintroduce funding for the preparation of judicial review cases. Judicial review is an important way of holding government to account. There are sufficient safeguards to discourage unmeritorious cases.
We will review the legal aid means tests, including the capital test for those on income-related benefits.
Labour will consider the reinstatement of other legal aid entitlements after receiving the final recommendations of the Access to Justice Commission led by Lord Bach.
The justice system can be bewildering and intimidating. There are many improvements that can be made both to the law and to the court processes.
Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure.
Labour government will consult on establishing an environmental tribunal with simplified procedures to hear challenges to unlawful government decisions, like those made on the air quality strategy, without engaging in prohibitively expensive processes.
Labour will not prohibit the courts from raising monies to provide services, but we will introduce a ratio to establish the maximum difference between actual costs and charges levied.
Labour will continue to extend the use of technology in our court service where it enhances access to justice, timely dispute resolution and efficient administration.