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4 July 2024
Wider justice system

Walks in London and Oxford have raised vital funds for free, frontline legal advice services. Read the reflections of Adam Chaddock, a Policy and Research Officer at the MA, in this blog.

The Magistrates' Association team of walkers, during the London Legal Walk 2024

On Tuesday 18 June, a determined group of Magistrates’ Association (MA) members, friends and family, and MA staff, gathered in the heart of London’s legal district to begin the London Legal Walk.

An annual event, the London Legal Walk is an initiative by the London Legal Support Trust to raise funds for free frontline legal support services to Londoners. This year the event brought out 18,000 people from London’s legal community, who walked 10 kilometres to raise money for the Trust.

Magistrates are volunteers who hear criminal cases in their communities, and our members feel an affinity with the communities that they serve. So it makes sense that we would want to do our bit to raise money for vitally important free legal support services, helping people who cannot afford it.

So, our intrepid group set out, initially navigating our way through the warrens of this historic part of the city, past Middle and Inner Temple, until we met the Thames. Walking west past the magnificent Somerset House, the Savoy and Victoria Gardens and enjoying the sunny weather, we then diverted from the river towards Whitehall. Dodging tourists admiring (presumably rather warm) bearskin-wearing guards, our route passed through Horse Guards and into St James’s Park.

A photo of Horse Guards Parade, during the London Legal Walk 2024 A photo of Horse Guards Parade, during the London Legal Walk 2024

Wandering along the park’s lake, we were all beginning to learn the members of our little group – and how varied it was. Retired magistrates shared stories of how the courts have changed; a reminder of the dynamism of the justice system we find ourselves in. So too did a PhD candidate by talking about the focus of her research (the psychology of sentencing on those convicted). We discussed the challenge of ensuring justice is done – a complex, human challenge, not just a legal one – and the importance of a magistrate’s local knowledge in rising to that challenge. Listening to these discussions reminded me of how important it is that the first-hand experiences of magistrates are at the forefront of decision making in the corridors of power that we had just walked past. 

We walked past Buckingham Palace and under the shade of Constitution Hill continued towards Wellington Arch. On the way, we went through the verdant Hyde Park and could smell the rose garden, still not quite in full bloom. As our journey went on, the scale of the event was plain to see. There were representatives from other charities, as well as government bodies, high street solicitors’ firms and city behemoths – all raising money funds for this excellent cause. Carriage Drive marked our half-way point and we headed back towards the city alongside the Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake.  

A photo of Buckingham Palace, during the London Legal Walk 2024 A photo of Hyde Park, during the London Legal Walk 2024.

Passing back under the Wellington Arch our route continued along the Mall, through Trafalgar Square and down the Strand. Passing between the other side of Somerset House – which I learnt used to host a family court – and James Gibbs’ church at St Mary Le Strand, we soon found ourselves approaching the Royal Courts of Justice once more, and at the end of our journey. 

A photo of the Wellington Arch, during the London Legal Walk 2024. A photo of the Royal Courts of Justice, during the London Legal Walk 2024.


On our 10km (6.2 miles) walk through the heart of London, we had enjoyed the city’s sights, sounds and smells, aided by the lovely weather and persistent sun. More importantly, our little group has (at the time of writing) raised a fantastic £825. Our thanks go to those who have donated in support of our team, and for those who haven’t the opportunity has not yet passed – head to our team fundraising page for details.  

So far, the London Legal Walk 2024 has raised nearly £900,000 and the organisers would love to reach the magic £1 million – let’s help them get there! 

Update (17th July 2024): Today we learnt the London Legal Walk reached it’s £1 million target and the MA team raised a total of £1,158.75! This is an amazing outcome from a small team and our sincere thanks go to all those who donated!

Oxford Legal Walk

On Wednesday 3 July, MA members joined the Oxford Legal Walk to raise funds for Agnes Smith Advice Centre, Citizens Advice Oxford, and Rose Hill and Donnington Advice Centre.

MA members at the Oxford Legal Walk: Magistrates’ team leader Robert Walsh JP, Oxfordshire bench deputy chair, and High Sheriff of Oxfordshire James Macnamara JP (former Oxfordshire MA branch chair)

MA members at the Oxford Legal Walk

Other Legal Walks

For those outside of the capital, there are still opportunities to take part in local Legal Walks. Over the next few months events will be hosted in across the country – head to the Access to Justice Foundation website to find out more