10 reasons Liberty is fighting the Legal Aid cuts

27 July 2011

Author: 
Sabina Frediani, Campaigns Co-Ordinator

The Government is planning on cutting the legal aid system in England and Wales beyond all recognition, in an effort to save £350million from the £2.1billion legal aid budget.

The proposals will put vital legal advice and representation beyond the reach of much of the British population; particularly those who need it most. Thousands of people will be forced to resort to DIY justice, simply to pursue their legitimate legal rights.

Access to justice and the right to a fair hearing are fundamental not only to the Rule of Law, but to democracy itself. Below you’ll find 10 reasons why Liberty is fighting the legal aid cuts. Help us to keep Justice Within Reach by passing this list on to your family and friends and spreading the word:

1. Free, independent legal assistance is vital to achieving justice for everyone. Without legal aid, we’re not a fair society

2. The most vulnerable people – including crime victims, people with disabilities and refugees – will be among those hardest hit

3. There will be no more legal aid for partners in child custody disputes, disabled people grappling with welfare benefit changes and families struggling with debt.

4. And with no legal aid in family and immigration matters, those unable to navigate the courts may remain separated from loved ones or lose access to their children.

5. Court doors in England and Wales will be largely locked shut to anyone other than criminal defendants and the super-rich

6. Our courts will also be thrown into chaos as people with no legal knowledge try to represent themselves; forcing judges to deal with non-legal issues.

7. The supposed savings will be short-term only. Issues which could easily be dealt with early on will be left to escalate, and end up costing more in the long run

8. Further proposals mean that people on low or average incomes may be put off from fighting for their rights by the higher costs involved

9. Fewer people still will know how to bring legal proceedings, or have the confidence to put forward arguments in intimidating court environments.

10. All of which means violations will go unchallenged. Authorities will have no reason to correct errors – because people won’t be able to challenge their decisions

 

For more information on Liberty’s campaign against the legal aid cuts, visit our Justice Within Reach campaign homepage.