High inequality means high injustice. Improving equality is the most effective way of improving justice.

The UKLSA has invested significant resources in promoting Equality, including equal access to the legal profession and justice. The UKLSA has regularly organised large multi-university events on Equality.



Litigants in person face powerful barriers to access to justice


A recent paper ‘Unrepresented Litigants in Modern Courts – Ordeal by Combat‘ shows barriers litigants in person face in litigation / disputes.  The greater proportion of the population are unable to afford the justice system, and this greater proportion face a number of barriers such as: the laws being unnecessarily complex; there being numerous unnecessary court formalities, which create a mount of barriers to access to justice for the unrepresented / self-represented; and litigants in person being often viewed as the cause of the problem, as vexatious litigants as opposed to people who are unable to access the justice system. 



5th Annual National Equalities Conference



Programme Ι  Report

2 Feb 2016, hosted by the Law Society and supported by its Junior Lawyers Division. Speakers include, Chairman of the Bar: Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, President of the Law Society: Jonathan Smithers, Hilary Heilbron QC, Barrister and Leading international Arbitrator, Brick Court, Sir Robin Knowles CBE, High Court Judge; Chairman of Together for Short Lives; Chair of Trustees at Legal Advice Centre (University House), Fergus Randolph QC, Brick Court Chambers – Conference Chair, Koser Shaheen, Attorney, Cleary Gottlieb; Vice Chair of the Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division 



Equality in access to Justice and the profession 

“Without access there is no justice” – Mr J Knowles at the UKLSA’s 5th Annual National Equalities Conference. Access to justice, if not equal, can be harmful to members of society. For example litigants in person, or those who cannot afford expensive legal teams, are often faced with legal costs of opponents who hire sophisticated legal representation.



Access to justice partially depends on access to the legal profession

A recent paper shows that, beyond financial equality, equal access to justice requires a legal profession which is representative of society – currently being a disconnect in values, knowledge and experiences between lawyers and their clients. The paper shows that inequality in access to justice mainly occurs at interview stages – which are subjective and highly unreliable – meaning that the current practices prevent the legal system from being representative of society. The paper proposes that law firms and chambers introduce standard entry tests for pupillage and training contract; and that Law Society, the Bar Council and the Inns of Court could contribute to this.  Read more…


What is access?

Do we have access to justice if courts fees are unaffordable?
Do we have access to justice if courts are not public friendly e.i. courts expecting the unrepresented to comply with complex procedures, complex bundling and complex paperwork?
Do we have access to justice if chances of winning are reduced for the unrepresented, thus increasing chances of them having to pay legal costs?
We put a significant part of our resources to improving access to justice. This includes organising for 5 consecutive years a National conference on Equality of access.

Statistics about equality in the UK legal profession can be found in this report. 


Sponsors (and collaborators) of our Equality projects  

Our annual conferences on equality have been sponsored and hosted by The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, by Linklaters, by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, the Society of Asian Lawyers, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Junior Lawyers Division. We are grateful to all our sponsors for supporting the UKLSA’s work towards promoting equal access to justice and the profession. 


Useful information