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Children lawyer becomes Law Society President

Christina Blacklaws calls for legal aid to be reinstated for family cases

On 5 July, vice-president Christina Blacklaws became the 174th president of the Law Society of England and Wales and the fifth woman to hold this office.

In her inaugural speech at the Annual General Meeting at the Law Society in Chancery Lane, Ms Blacklaws identified three areas in which she 'could add most value':

In respect of the last, she said:

"As you would expect from someone who spent 20 years as a children's lawyer and a campaigner on social justice causes, I have a passion for access to justice and will strive to ensure we do everything that we can to protect the vulnerable and disempowered in our society.

"We are currently participating on the consultative panels of the government's review of legal aid, set up by the MoJ, on civil justice, criminal justice and family justice.

"During my presidency, I will continue to lead the Society's campaign on early advice.

"We believe that the current lack of free early legal advice can cause problems to escalate unnecessarily, which is harmful for the individuals involved as well as increasing the burden on courts and the cost to the public purse.

"The campaign was launched following the publication of new research by Ipsos MORI, which we commissioned, that shows a clear statistical link between receiving professional legal advice and resolving a problem sooner.

"We are calling for legal aid to be reinstated for family and housing cases."

For the President's inaugural speech, click here.