The Justice Alliance’s “Voices for Justice” rally held in Conway Hall in central London last week was a statement of intent.
The rally was sold out, attracting more than 400 people with a shared determination to fight injustice and save legal aid.
There were many rousing speakers.
Marcia Rigg said legal aid was vital to securing an inquest into her brother’s death in police custody.
Community worker and poet Awate Suleiman rapped about his experiences of police harassment and the need for legal aid.
Helen Steel said legal aid meant she could sue the Metropolitan Police after she was deceived into a long-term relationship with an undercover police officer.
Shami Chakrabarti from Liberty described the cuts to legal aid as “ideological and spiteful”.
Criminal barrister Helena Kennedy QC also spoke. She argued that “the idea that asylum seekers and victims of domestic violence should be represented by lawyers in their spare time is disgusting”.
Pat Kavanagh from the Unite union and Ian Lawrence, general secretary of the Napo union, talked about the importance of solidarity across the legal sector.
The rally culminated in Jeremy Corbyn MP declaring legal aid a basic human right, which he will continue to support and defend.
It was an uplifting and exciting rally intending to kickstart a year of action.