When I was young and growing up in the early 1980s, the principal object of desire amongst my peer group was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum micro-computer. The 48k version. Not the 16k version, which was no use to man nor beast, but the 48k version which boasted an impressive palette of 8 colours, and had sound.
Although my friends and I played around with programming in BASIC, the Spectrum was primarily a games machine for use after school. And the best game released for the ZX Spectrum was by far and away, The Hobbit.
It was a ground breaking piece of software, which combined memorable graphics, an excellent plot and difficult puzzles. But during the game you would be frequently captured by goblins, and inevitably end up in the Goblins’ Dungeon.
How to escape was fiendishly difficult: and even if you did, recapture by those pesky goblins, often occurred, returning you time after time, to your dungeon beneath the Misty Mountains.
Inevitably, Thorin would then sit down and start singing about gold.
In some ways Lock Down is a little like an extended stay in the Goblins’ Dungeon.
Incarceration laced with repetition.
The days stretch into each other.
The monotony of routine.
My world has narrowed to one of routine. Remote hearings take place. Paperwork is completed and emailed back. My eyes have come to resemble two red-rimmed poached eggs, from excessive screen work, peering balefully at yet another Zoom call. It is the same for many people, I suspect.
But whilst our bodies are confined, with just the daily walk for escape, our minds are free to roam.
In particular, in these quiet moments, it is an excellent pause to make plans. And to consider how you can boost your own mental well being with the sense of purpose that comes from helping others.
Costs and litigation funding is about far more than pounds and pence, although the money is important too. Fundamentally, it is about access to justice and being able to pay for lawyers who have the skill to advance someone’s case, so that the best opportunity to win their case is afforded to a litigant.
The legal justice administered by a court or tribunal is also one small part of facilitating the wider concepts of justice at large within our society: social justice, environmental justice and that sense of fairness that all societies need to flourish.
I have written a number of times on this blog, about pro bono work. If you have time, or can make time, or desire to help people whilst honing a new set of skills in an unfamiliar practice area, pro bono work is something you might consider.
There are a number of useful web pages, which can provide more information on the role of pro bono and how to get started in it. These include the Access to Justice Foundation, which can be found here: https://atjf.org.uk/ and also Advocate, the Bar pro bono unit, which can be found here: https://weareadvocate.org.uk/.
There are a raft of other organisations: environmental law and the environmental challenges we face as a society, and particularly where those challenges may be faced by those least able to meet them have led to the pro bono work of the Environmental Law Foundation: https://elflaw.org/past-cases/
The pressures created by the pandemic, are likely to burst as restrictions are lifted. To give but one example, the current moratorium on possession claims is about to end next month.
When listing a possession claim, three minutes per case is allocated by the court service, to determine whether someone will lose their home. If they lose their home, the consequences for them and their family will be much suffering. So there will be plenty of need amongst the poor and desperate for legal help and much work to be done in the year ahead, for organisations such as: https://www.lawworks.org.uk/
Of course, in this Lock Down, it shouldn’t all be work, whether paid or not. The season of Lent, which is now upon us was meant for reflection as much as for austerity. There must also be some time for beneficial idleness. If you never did escape from the Goblins’ Dungeon all those years ago, I am delighted to find that you can have another go here: http://torinak.com/qaop#!hobbit