Labour: bring back legal aid
September 22, 2017 6 comments
The government should spend an additional £400 million a year in order to create a more generous legal aid system, Labour have recommended.
Prior to their party conference, which kicks off on Sunday in Brighton, the party has issued a report critical of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act passed by the coalition government. LASPO severely limited the availability of legal aid in all kinds of cases and all but eliminated it for family law disputes.
The newly published report was written by Labour peer Lord Bach who made a series of recommendations to address the lack of access to legal assistance. These include £110 million for extending the eligibility for civil legal aid and a £50 fund for advice services.
Bach wrote that when LASPO was enacted, the government “estimated it would save £450 million a year in today’s prices” and that, last year, there was £950 million less spent on legal aid than there was in 2010. The proposed measures in the report would “initially total less than this underspend, at an estimated cost of around £400 million per year” he claimed.
The current system of legal aid is “creaking at the seams” and “practice as a legal aid lawyer is becoming increasingly unsustainable” Bach warned in his report.
This report comes shortly after the revelation that there has been a 20 per cent drop in the number of legal aid providers throughout England and Wales since LASPO was enacted.
Photo of Brighton, home of the 2017 Labour Party Conference, by Randi Hausken via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
September 22, 2017
Categories: Family Law