The government has announced that it is to restrict the availability of legal aid for certain kinds of case.
This not only represents the latest attack on the poor by a Government of millionaires but also prejudices the Article 6 rights of those of limited means to achieve a fair hearing.
Campaign now to oppose the cuts in Legal Aid
It is currently very difficult for people who need a legal aid lawyer to find one and the government's proposals will make it even more difficult and impossible in certain areas of law, particularly those affecting the most vulnerable people, and areas of the country to find a lawyer. Early legal advice can save public money in many cases, save legal aid!
Legal Aid is vital to help anyone in need to access assistance, whatever the circumstances, and should not be cut. More money should be put into Legal Aid, not taken away or restricted.
These cuts will not save money in the long run - they will put pressure on health social services and education as people are unable to challenge poor decisons regarding their benefits or get help with their debts and so face financial difficulties and risk homelessness
Anna Skehan commented
If the reforms go through people who are marginalised will have even less of a voice. Advice will disappear completely in some sectors, and this loss will be irreversable. The costs savings are minimal in comparison to the knock-on expense of dealing with litigants in person, or people who become destitute because they have no one to help them. You don't know what you've got until it's gone, and you think that you don't need these services until the day your own world falls in. Then you find out you do need help but there's no one left.
Cheryl Weston commented
Equal access to legal aid is necessary to ensure that individuals can excercise their legal rights. Early advice will prevent people getting to the stage where they are getting threatened with eviction and need emergency advice.
Pamela Judge commented
This is a really important bill to campaign about. If its proposals go through people on low incomes will have little or no access to legal advice on matters such as welfare benefits, housing, debt etc. We'll end up with one law for the rich and another for the poor.
Thankfully Article 6 of HRA has been included in latest revised revision of the Bill.
Juidth Kinson commented
Legal Aid has to be considered to protect children and vulnerable victims of abuse in matrimonial and child matters ...this is an outrage if victmims cannot protec tthemselves!
The times really are a changin' when I heard a Conservative Mp quote Bob Dylan's lyrics during the Parliamentary debate on Murdoch's bid for BSkyB. The times really are a changin' when I learnt that the Law Society employed the marketing company Unity to run their campaign against Legal Aid cuts because we the people have not campaigned by banner waving or online campaigning to save this important part of our Welfare State. Our democracy and our Human Rights are under threat if we the people don't don't Get Up Stand Up for Free Legal Aid.
James Lazou commented
This campaign is very winnable. Many peers and MPs are strongly against this including many of the crossbench peers. We need to mobilise people on this issue ASAP.
Karen Beumer commented
If these cuts go ahead we will be hurting the most vulnerable people in our society, especially during times such as we are experiencing when people are facing hardship and loss of jobs. We are becoming a Country we cannot be proud of.
Sara Bowen commented
If these cuts go ahead they will again be affecting the poor and vulnerable. It will also clog up the Tribunal Services system as there will undoubtedly be appeals going to Tribunal with no legal merits and also no real prospect of success. At least with advice we can filter out these cases. Also there will be loads appealing to the Upper Tribunal delaying the already very long process.
Furthermore these cuts will inevitably lead to job losses and 1) where the government are trying to get individuals off benefits they will in fact be forcing more to sign on 2) are the government prepared to give those who lose their jobs alternative employment ... No doub not.
These cuts are absurd and just a cost cutting exercise when in actual fact they will be adding with all of the backlogs and appeals.
Lisa Reese commented
If the Bill goes through there will be no Legal advice for people who lose their jobs or who need help to dispute cuts in their benefits. Ken Clarke seems to think the CAB can do this, but the CAB get alot of their Funding from Legal Aid contracts so presumebly alot of CAB services will be cut and some centre may close. The loss of the WB advice will save the government 25 milliion, a lot of money - about 50p a head for the UK. Isn't that cheap for providing a basic safety net for people. We are all vulnerable , we can all lose our jobs, get sick or fall on hard Times.
I wonder how many bankers bonuses you can pay out of 25 million.....
Anna Chiumento commented
A fair justice system depends upon fair access to legal representation. Once legal aid is cut, the quality of decision making will ineviatably suffer, leaving the most vulnerable most at risk.
David Marshall commented
Ill-considered cost-cutting which will deprive the poor of justice and will inevitably end up costing society more in the long run.
Sara Stephens commented
Justice should be available to all, not just to the rich. The proposed reductions in scope and amendments to financial eligibility will mean that many people will be unable to obtain legal aid. The reductions in fees to providers will mean that many providers will not be able to continue to undertake publicly funded work. The Government have ignored the responses to the consultation and is fast tracking the bill. This is extremely concerning on many levels.
Clifford Tibber commented
access to justice is a fundamental right
Kathleen Dawes commented
Legal aid should be free to those who can't afford it themselves, as the law should serve everyone equally, not just the rich.
Jo Ramsay commented
Saw how many people in real need got helped via legal aid when I was a CAB advisor. Fair access to justice is important for family law.
MPs got free legal aid for fiddling their expenses which is why it's being kept for fraud cases. However, it's going to be cut for medical negligence cases. The govt has invested in a large pharmaceutical company. If members of the public get free legal aid to take a company they have invested in to court and win, the companies share prices will go down. The govt is faced with a choice: either they get rid of free legal aid for medical negligence cases or they end 'UK TRADE & INDUSTRY' funding of a certain French pharmaceutical company. I think they call this a conflict of interest????