We enter 2017 with a sustained onslaught upon people’s rights to civil justice. Court closures across the country, massive increases in court fees, falling morale in the judiciary and within the court service, failure to invest in technology, and the withdrawal of legal aid for civil and family claims.

The consequence is that more and more people take justice into their own hands to resolve civil or family disputes which are now prohibitively expensive or logistically impossible for them to take to court. For many cases this is fine. However the trend has dangers. If the government continues to discourage people from bringing their disputes to court for resolution and ignoring its duty to provide access to the law society runs the risk of breaking down into unorganised chaos.