Labour: bring back legal aid

family law

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.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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6 comments

Dr Manhattan - September 22, 2017 at 12:13pm

for parents fighting the SS through the family courts i dont think legal aid makes any difference because they loose in 90% of cases. its a complete waste of tax payers money. parents would have a better chance as a LiP.

Mr T - September 22, 2017 at 12:40pm

Labour would say that. Their answer to everything is to get the credit card out for those who can’t afford it. What about a system where it’s actually equal? Just for once!? Why should employed people have to pay for legal representation hell they pay for just about everything else and this on top!?

I think providing legal representation to both parties is a much better fairer idea. I actually like the idea of mediation outside the courts by appointed lawyers because that’s what would probably be awarded but they need some extra powers. Some women just aren’t going to be reasonable when it comes to kids so will end up in court anyway as they need telling what to do by an authority figure i.e. a judge.

Andrew - September 22, 2017 at 12:58pm

We shall see. For many in Mr Corbyn’s party spending a lot of public money on a service provided by self-employed people will go against the grain.

Paul - September 22, 2017 at 9:12pm

I still think the practice of been a ‘soliciter’ should be a civil service job with a banded income. Availible to all. Private soliciters should still be availible to take on cases where the state has a vested interest and cases vs the state of course. Or where people do not wish to use the standard service. The current system is like been held to ransom.

Paul - September 22, 2017 at 9:21pm

With Dianne Abbot in charge of his figures Corbyn wont have to worry about spending anything xXx lol

Andrew - September 26, 2017 at 10:04am

So Paul: your opponent’s solicitor would be working for the same people and possibly in the same office as yours?

No thank you. Independence please.

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