Solicitors in Milton Keynes - Family Law, Motoring Law, Domestic Violence

24/7 out of office hours domestic violence advice line: 0845 450 1281 (local rates apply)


Government Review of Cuts to Civil Legal Aid at Last

The news of the long-awaited review of the Civil Legal Aid cuts has finally arrived! Legislation in 2012 (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO)) made swinging cuts to legal aid, taking ‘out of scope’ all family law public funding apart from domestic violence, abduction, ‘care proceedings’ and where the applicant is a child.  In 2013, overnight, hundreds of thousands of people previously eligible now had to show ‘proof of domestic violence’, in order to be granted public funding.

Although reducing the categories of litigants who may qualify for legal aid, in one sense is an obvious way of cutting costs in the legal aid budget, equally obviously it must also put pressure on public services in the wider sense. One example of this relates to the escalating numbers of litigants who find themselves in Court without a solicitor and the longer time it takes to dispose of cases as a result. There is unprecedented pressure on Citizens Advice Bureaus and pro bono representation is very often the only means by which litigants may obtain justice. This is a very sad indictment of the ‘access to justice’ mantra, which is now more an illusion than a reality.

The Law Society has expressed itself as ‘looking forward’ to a ‘comprehensive review’ as “if people cannot access advice or protect their rights, then effectively those rights do not exist.” Agreed, but don’t hold your breath!

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