Sadly the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group collective has decided to dissolve.
It is difficult to overestimate how very much needed and appreciated LDMG was. Founded in 1995, its members provided legal advice to hundreds of activists over the last 24 years. They monitored police behaviour and kept track of our court cases. They gave support to anyone arrested during demonstrations, pickets and actions. They monitored court cases and provided support to those held on remand. They assisted anybody assaulted by the police, and those wrongly arrested could always depend on them if and when they wanted to sue the police. They provided us with all legal updates and friendly advice we needed in our activism. They distributed an excellent Bust Card: a wallet-sized card holding all information we needed while trying to get out from being busted by the State. They produced the “No Comment” booklet which gave us advice on what to do, and, most importantly, what not to do, while arrested.
A group run entirely by volunteers, the LDMG always had time for us all: no matter how big or small our legal troubles were. They waited for us outside the police stations, they spent countless hours analysing our legal documents, they prepared our cases, searched for witnesses, prepared our statements, put us in touch with sympathetic solicitors, or, if that was not an option, assisted us in courts. They kept us company during trials, and bought us pints afterwards. There are many activists who dodged a legal bullet, or at least were spared serious legal issues, due to the dedication of the good people of LDMG.
The LDMG was essential, and their importance was only made greater by the government’s cuts and changes to the legal aid system, which deprived many of access to a solicitor. In many cases, the LDMG volunteers were the best legal support we could hope for: activist run and activist needs oriented, always there, always willing to help, always firmly on our side. They will be greatly missed, and although it will be difficult to do so, hopefully the gap they leave behind will fill soon.
If you need legal support please contact Green and Black Cross by email on gbclegal(at)riseup.net or by phone on the legal hotline 07946 541 511.