The fightback against the Conservatives’ legal aid desert begins today | Richard Burgon

I am excited by the right to justice advocated by the Bach commission. A system that cuts have made ‘unaffordable to most’ can at last be repaired

Food banks, zero-hours contracts and the bedroom tax are perhaps the most potent symbols of the cruelty of the Conservative government’s cuts agenda. But the scything away at people’s access to justice should be deemed equally callous. This is why I welcome today’s final report by the Bach Commission on Access to Justice, published by the Fabian Society. As the report makes clear, our democracy and the rule of law depend on people being able to defend their rights. But if they lack the money or the knowledge to do so, their rights in law are worth nothing more than the paper they are written on.

Related: The lack of access to justice is a national disgrace | Charles Falconer and Willy Bach

Related: Cuts to legal aid for prisoners ruled unlawful

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Labour-backed report calls for more generous legal aid system

Review criticises coalition government’s cuts and calls for new law enshrining right to justice

An additional £400m a year should be spent restoring access to a more generous system of legal aid, according to a Labour-backed report which calls for a legally enforceable right to justice.

The two-year-long review, led by the former justice minister Lord Bach, launches an alternative vision of equality before the law and condemns austerity policies that have imposed a “disproportionate” share of cuts on the legal system.

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Met police chat forum was used to post insults aimed at Gypsies

Three police officers and a civilian staff member criticised by Independent Police Complaints Commission for failing to act

Three Metropolitan police officers and a police staff member should face misconduct meetings for participating in an online chat site that carried derogatory comments about Gypsies and Irish Travellers, a watchdog has ruled.

The finding by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) reverses previous internal Met police disciplinary inquiries and has prompted accusations that the force is “incapable” of investigating itself.

Related: Outrageous portrayals of Gypsy culture are cinema’s last acceptable bigotry

Related: We Travellers must take a stand against racism, for the sake of our children | Patrick O’Leary

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Victorians overwhelmingly support voluntary euthanasia, survey finds

Exclusive: Survey of 500 people finds 72% support rights of adults ‘to choose to end their lives if they are suffering from a terminal illness’

As the Victorian parliament ponders an historic vote to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill, a new survey shows the public overwhelmingly back the reform, with most Victorians saying they would be more likely to vote for a candidate if they supported voluntary euthanasia.

The survey of 500 Victorian adults, conducted in late July on behalf of assisted dying advocacy group Go Gentle Australia, also found that public approval for voluntary euthanasia laws was stronger than their support for other key social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Related: Victoria’s assisted dying bill includes severe penalties for abuse of scheme

Related: End-of-life issues have been in the too-hard basket for too long | Jill Hennessy

Related: We should end the suffering of patients who know they are dying and want to do so peacefully | Peter Singer

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End-of-life issues have been in the too-hard basket for too long | Jill Hennessy

One terminally-ill Victorian takes their life each week; we haven’t been giving them the choices they need to have a good death

Far too many Victorians have suffered too much and for too long at the end of their lives.

Talking about death is a challenging and confronting issue. For too long, end-of-life issues have been in the too-hard basket. This needs to change. Improving policy and community awareness about the end of life, and death, are essential if we are to improve Victorians’ choices about how and where they experience both.

Related: We should end the suffering of patients who know they are dying and want to do so peacefully | Peter Singer

Related: Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination | Margaret Somerville

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Sources that link RPF to Rwanda plane plot | Letters

Helen Epstein responds to accusations that the sources she used for her Guardian article on Rwanda’s genocide were unreliable

In response to my article “America’s secret role in the Rwandan genocide” (12 September), Linda Melvern (Letters, 19 September) disputes my suggestion that much evidence points to the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) responsibility for shooting down President Juvénal Habyarimana’s aeroplane in April 1994. I rely for information about the provenance of the launchers on Belgian historian Filip Reyntjens, who investigated the matter thoroughly shortly after the event (see his Rwanda: Trois jours qui ont fait basculer l’histoire, published in 1996).

In addition, the various investigations linking the RPF to the plot to down the aeroplane rely on former RPF officers who took enormous risks to share their stories. I do not rely on “convicted génocidaires”, as Melvern claims. (See, for example, Kayumba Nyamwasa’s interview in the BBC’s Rwanda’s Untold Story and UN investigator Michael Hourigan’s affidavit in Uncovering Rwanda’s Secrets at theage.com.au.)

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Court decision no longer required in right-to-die cases, judge rules

Landmark ruling means legal permission no longer needed before life-support treatment is withdrawn from patients with severe illnesses

Legal permission will no longer be required by a court before life-supporting treatment is withdrawn from patients with severely debilitating illnesses, a high court judge has ruled.

The landmark ruling by Mr Justice Peter Jackson in the court of protection marks a significant change in how right-to-die cases may be handled in future by hospitals and families.

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Victoria's assisted dying bill includes severe penalties for abuse of scheme

‘This is the most cautious, the safest, scheme for assisted dying anywhere in the world,’ Daniel Andrews says

Victoria’s assisted dying legislation includes new and severe penalties for doctors caught abusing the scheme, including up to a life sentence for encouraging a patient to choose to die.

On Wednesday the premier, Daniel Andrews; the health minister, Jill Hennessy; and the attorney general, Martin Pakula, were due to introduce to parliament the bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying. The bill was two years in the making and included extensive consultation with disability workers, palliative care specialists and legal experts.

Related: Assisted dying laws to be debated in New South Wales and Victoria

Related: Church and states braced for biggest battle on euthanasia

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Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination | Margaret Somerville

We can judge the ethical tone of a society by how it treats its weakest and most in need. With euthanasia we offer them death instead of loving care

Dying and death is not a new phenomenon: We have always become ill, suffered, were going to die and someone else could have killed us. So why now, at the beginning of the 21st century, after prohibiting euthanasia for thousands of years and when we can do so much more to relieve suffering than in the past, do we suddenly think that legalising it is a good idea? I propose a major cause is a catastrophic failure of collective human memory and collective human imagination.

Related: Church and states braced for biggest battle on euthanasia

Related: Assisted dying laws to be debated in New South Wales and Victoria

Related: We should end the suffering of patients who know they are dying and want to do so peacefully | Peter Singer

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Proponents of sex trafficking bill urge Silicon Valley to drop opposition

Major tech companies including Google have lobbied against bill that would hold websites liable for publishing information ‘designed to facilitate sex trafficking’

A bill to combat sex trafficking that has pitted US lawmakers against Silicon Valley was at the center of debate on Tuesday, as one Republican senator decried the selling of human beings online as “one of the dark sides of the internet”.

Related: History will judge those who don’t stop sex trafficking | Rob Portman

Related: Why is Silicon Valley fighting a sex trafficking bill?

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