Basingstoke’s MP, Maria Miller called on the Solicitor General to ensure that members of the public have better understanding of the law, during a debate on “Public Legal Education” secured by a neighbouring constituency MP, Ranil Jayawardena.
Public Legal Education (PLE) provides people of all ages with awareness, knowledge and understanding of legal issues and helps build the confidence and skills they need to deal with disputes and gain access to justice. Equally important, it helps people recognise when they may need support, what sort of advice is available, and how to go about getting it.
Maria said “The rule of law is integral to the way law shapes our lives but many laws require people to know that they exist before they can come into effect, nowhere more so than when it comes to equality rights.
I could draw on many areas of equality law, where the lack of understanding is hampering the original intention of the law. Hate crime, disability discrimination, maternity discrimination, which I have discussed, and tackling sexual harassment—the list goes on.
I believe that the Equality Act 2010 needs some significant reform to make it work properly, but we also need people to understand it. That is where Public Legal Education programme comes in.”
Maria also raised the important work done by Hampshire Community Court through Peer Court initiative. Maria said, “We should applaud the Hampshire community court for pressing forward with Peer Courts initiative, where young people sit and look themselves at community cases involving people of their own age so that they can gain a better understanding of how the legal system works.