This initiative has a positive impact on the LGBTQIA community

BY JACQUI RHULE-DAGHER, IMAGE BY PEXELS

The late comedian, Joan Rivers, once said: “If God wanted us to exercise, he would have put diamonds on the floor.” I was reminded of her words when I proudly signed up for the London Legal Walk. This will be my fifth time taking part in the walk (although the initiative has been running for 19 years), as it is a cause very close to my heart. If taking part in the walk also serves to debunk the myth that lawyers are surgically attached to their desks and have no time for exercise, then this can only be a positive thing.

On 13 June, I will be part of a team who will be walking with the Lord Chief Justice, and thousands of lawyers, to raise funds for the London Legal Support Trust. The London Legal Support Trust is an independent charity that raises funds for free legal advice services.

Two-thirds of the UK population do not know how to obtain legal advice, and the 13.4 million people who live in poverty cannot afford to pay for it. As the cost of living rises, the need for free legal help with debt, benefits, housing, asylum and domestic violence is now greater than ever.

The London Legal Walk raises vital funds to ensure access to justice for some of society’s most vulnerable members. In 2022, more than 8,000 walkers took part in the initiative raising over £700k to support the provision of free legal advice in London and the South East.

Receiving sound legal advice at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives in reducing their chances of facing poverty, homelessness, exploitation and discrimination. It is a sad fact that, statistically, members of minority groups, such as the LGBTQIA community, are more likely to be impacted by these issues.

Being a Black, female and lesbian lawyer, I am very keen to ensure that people who are already struggling do not have the additional burden of worrying about access to justice. Access to justice means that people should be able to access legal support, advice and representation if they need it, irrespective of their financial position or social status.

Some of the charities which the London Legal Walk supports include: the LGBTQIA Alliance, Rights of Women, the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group and the Youth Legal and Resource Group.

Click here to learn more about the initiative or to make a donation.

Jacqui Rhule-Dagher is a lawyer at an international law firm and is a member of The Law Society’s LGBTQ+ Solicitors Network. Jacqui also featured on the DIVA Power List 2023.

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