Access To Justice (Reforms (Cutting funding for legal aid, Cutting fees…
Access To Justice
What is Access to Justice
The ability for everyone to obtain legal advice / representation.
Access should be equal for all not based upon the amount of money you are able to spend on it.
Not exclusive to a proportion of society.
Has Access to Justice been compromised
New fixed regime for legal aid introduced by the government followed by a 10% cut in fees in all legal aid services.
LASPO came into effect in 2013 which further cut the legal aid budget by £320M by 2015. Effected areas of family, immigration, welfare benefits, employment and clinical negligence.
Legal advice can be costly and complex.
Wilson et al - not all individiuals are aware of their legal rights and therefore do not have the resources to enforce them if they cannot afford to employ a legal adviser.
Can people afford the fees. For example in an employment tribunal, they may have lost their job so do not have the income to pay to go to a tribunal.
There is no longer a sufficient amount of lawyers dealing with legal aid matters.
Personal Injury cases have been excluded since 2000 which is a large amount of cases in the pipeline which led to CFA.
Eligibility thresholds are now in force meaning not everyone can access this service.
Guardian Paper 2014 - advised that vulnerable people like children less able to access justice.
Neuberger 2013 - speech stating that the rule of law that everyone is equal before the law is in doubt
Legal Aid Agency created in 2013
Administers legal aid.
responsible for ensuring legal aid is available to the public.
They provide civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales estimating that they help more than 2M people with legal issues.
debt, if your home is at risk
special educational needs
issues around a child being taken into care
Independent and operate on a non-profit basis.
Specialise in social welfare law (housing, employment etc.)
Multiple locations throughout England and Wales.
Citizen's Advice Bureau
A charity which enables the public to receive free legal advice on most areas of law.
According to the CAB in 2012/13 they helped 2.1M people.
There are approx 3,300 community location in England and Wales.
Pro Bono Schemes operated by law firms and universities
New York requirement must complete 50 hours of pro bono work per year.
Legal Aid was publicly funded therefore may need to take cuts like the NHS and Police services to pay for another public need. In 2012 legal aid cost the tax payer £2bn.
Cutting funding for legal aid
Cutting fees for barristers and solicitors can charge for legal aid work.
Tightening eligibility requirement to receive legal aid.
Removal of the the defendants right to choose their solicitor/barrister in criminal matters.
Reducing the scope of legal aid e.g. domestic violence and family cases restricted