Well here we are, 2012 is up and, while not quite running yet, gingerly poking its feet out from under the duvet. It’s fair enough to be a bit cautious about rushing headlong into January if the last year is anything to go by. The first full year of the coalition government has been something of a rollercoaster, whichever side of the political divide you sit and whatever your area of concern. Looking at it from a legal perspective, it’s hard not to conclude that we are heading for a derailment in 2012 as we rush headlong, and blindly, down the tracks of reform.
Lawyers don’t always get the best press, but every so often even I have to concede they deserve some good PR. This week the Law Society launched a national pro bono helpline for victims of the recent riots. To those of you who aren’t lawyers (and I’m not, but I spend an awful lot of time around them) that means free help and advice. This is undeniably a good deed and a far more useful response to the riots than anything the government has so far come up with.
No-one could fail to be moved by the words of Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the three men mown down by a hit and run driver in Birmingham last week. His reaction to his son’s death, killed as he tried to protect his community from rioters, was both poignant and extraordinary. He said he believed people could stay calm and could live together. The police said his words had played a significant part in helping to quell further unrest.