As the founder of Truth Legal over seven years ago, I have come face-to-face with many sides of society. And whilst it is easy to get bogged down in Brexit and the state of British politics in general, the most common complaint I hear about society from people, is that life was better in the good old days. I simply don’t agree.
I have recently written an article for the website medium.com which specifically challenges the, almost lazy, assertion that life was better in the good old days. In this I have argued that there are many diverse sectors of society which have unarguably improved in the modern generation, contrary to popular belief. Amongst these I would include a wide range of areas such as morality, racism, celebrity behaviour, graffiti, clean air and crime.
For me, there are numerous examples involving these areas, where we are far more developed in 2019 than, for example, forty years ago in the ‘good old days’. A lot of this is down to parenting of course, but in society today we have more mechanisms through which to report, challenge and resolve issues that arise and these undoubtedly make society better off for it.
You can read my full argument in the article: Changing Britain – There’s Progress, But Access to Justice Has Regressed but a summary of it is that society should always evolve and progress with each generation, and generally-speaking it does, and I believe we are seeing this now, despite common perceptions to the contrary.
Taking the important area of education, for example, the article argues,
“Today, nearly half of all students go to university, mixing with kids from all backgrounds, often studying for the sake of intellectual development (and so they should). With degree subjects for most walks of life, it is inevitable that the people of today are smarter than the people of yesterday, as society’s collective knowledge improves every single day. To aid this progress, the teachers of today have been taught to a more advanced stage than the teachers of yesterday; in turn, they use more advanced teaching methods on their pupils.”
I believe this has developed a more rounded society, while technological developments such as the internet have made resources and information more widely available, so that knowledge and lectures that were previously restricted only to the privileged few, are now available to everyone.
Improvements in health
There are similar improvements in health too:
“Physically, the people of today are stronger, healthier and more aware of their health than the generations before. No footballer from 1966 could get into today’s England team. Smokers are now regarded as a bit unusual, not cool, as they once were. Today, the people who die of asbestos-related diseases weren’t recently exposed to asbestos at work: they were usually exposed years ago when — criminally — it was known that asbestos was a killer. Deaths and serious injuries due to accidents at work are on the decline: good!”
So where does that leave us in the legal profession? Well it is certainly much easier for people to make claims for such things as clinical negligence and accidents at work than it used to be. Quite apart from the process being simpler, you now have access to more online information through which you can check whether you have a strong case or not. Patients are armed with more information than ever before and therefore should be encouraged to seek justice where they can.
It is this ‘access to justice’ issue where I do think that we have seen a decline in modern society, however. Budget cuts to the Ministry of Justice have led to a decline in the Legal Aid system and inevitably it has become harder for people to seek justice.
“For the first time in British history,” the article continues, “we have Legal Aid barristers on strike, because some of them are paid less than the National Minimum Wage. None of my contemporaries from law school became Legal Aid lawyers, even though — like me — they aspired to be one. It is no longer much of a viable career path.”
Problems with access to justice
This is the single biggest problem currently facing the legal profession, although the ‘no win, no fee’ system has helped, and I like to think that organisations like Truth Legal have helped also. We have spent countless hours giving free advice to people who need it, and we have taken on numerous cases on an ethical basis and because, morally, it was the right thing to do, not always because there was money to be made out of it.
You might not entirely agree with my argument. But I think I’ve made a strong case that society is much better today than it was in the ‘good old days’, and I am here to lift some of the doom and gloom that has enshrouded much of the country, and understandably. Read the full article here: medium.com.
From one of the UK’s most read legal blogs.