Friday, 3 June 2011

Justice for All action

Today the campaign group Justice for All held a day of action against government plans to carve £350m out of the annual legal aid budget and control access to the courts is being staged across the country.

Details of the Ministry of Justice's final proposals and a draft bill on the cost-saving reforms are due to be published this month, possibly as early as next week.

The MoJ's own impact assessment study suggests that 500,000 fewer cases a year will be entitled to funding under the plans, while the Legal Action Group estimates that as many as 650,000 will be removed from access to legal aid.

As I have wrote before here that these cuts to legal aid will hurt the most vulnerable members of our communities, those affected by domestic violence, by employment issues, those with complex benefits difficulties and those with housing difficulties.

Caroline Lucas MP, leader of the Green party, said: "Reducing legal aid will increase the hardship of many as well as proving to be a false economy.

"If people do not get the help they need at an early stage, their problems will worsen. Their problems become more difficult to solve, and that increases demand on other public services, such as health and social care. The worst-off will be hit hardest by these changes."

The Labour MP Stephen Timms organised what he described as a "very British protest" against the cuts: an orderly queue symbolising how "legal aid cuts will leave vulnerable people with nowhere to turn for help but their MP".

These cuts to legal aid will cause injustice, to people that least have the means to defend themselves against the powerful, it's interesting that this Conservative Liberal Democratic government wishes to cut £350 million of legal aid from people on very modest means at the same time taxing city bonuses £1 billion less than the previous Labour government.

For more on Justice for All

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