Posts Tagged ‘Civil Courts’

The Coalitions’ Abolition of Legal Aid and Legal Restrictions against Workers Suing Management in Pre-Revolutionary Russia

April 25, 2014

A few weeks ago the Conservatives and their Tory Democrat accomplices abolished legal aid. This has the effect of making legal action by the poor prohibitively expensive, so that they are effectively denied justice due to the sheer cost involved. This has naturally caused indignation and protests, not least from the legal profession itself. In Bristol the lawyers went on a one-day strike against its abolition.

this attempt by the government to prevent the poor suing the rich also has a parallel in the legal restrictions and double standards the Tsarist government in pre-Revolutionary Russia used to oppress the workers in its attempt to protect and promote the country’s capitalist development. Lionel Kochan in his Russia in Revolution (London: Paladin 1970) describes this legal double standard. Workers, who left their job before their contract was due to expire, were liable to criminal prosecution. However, if they wished to sue their employer for non-payment of wages, then this had to go through the civil courts, which was virtually impossible. (p. 44).

The Coalition really are following some of the most reactionary and oppressive regime’s in their attempts to stifle any kind of dissent or protest against their policies and increase the massive power of the rich against the working and lower middle classes, the poor and the disabled. In Russia, it ended with a Revolution. In Britain, let’s hope that it ends with them being voted out of office in the election next year.