Bring back legal aid says Bar Council
May 14, 2017 4 comments
The Bar Council has called on whichever government wins power next month to fully restore legal aid.
In a newly published Manifesto for Justice it claims that justice has been transforming into a two tier system since the drastic cuts introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishiment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012, which came into force the following year.
The Council explains:
“Five years later nearly half a million people a year no longer receive legal advice on employment, housing, welfare and family issues.”
But despite government claims, the cuts have been counter-productive the Council insists.
“[The cuts do] not save money for the country because unresolved legal problems create other expensive problems for society. The social costs cannot be ignored.”
The courts have filled with litigants in person who cannot afford lawyers “and for whom the state now makes no provision.”
Others, meanwhile, avoid the courts altogether and seek no resolution for their legal issues.
The Council warns that:
“Disengagement of sectors of society can lead to a growing sense of injustice which of itself risks populism and extremism.”
The Bar Council also wants the new government to make a fresh and clear commitment to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and to invest in courtroom infrastructure, amongst other highlighted issues.
The Bar Council represents and promotes barristers across England and Wales.
Read the Council’s manifesto, entitled The Value of Justice, here.
Image by Hugh Kimura via Flickr
May 14, 2017
Categories: Family Law