The government has announced its long-awaited review of LASPO (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012).
The legal aid cuts were among the most controversial changes made by the government, forcing the Government to agree to the post-implementation analysis. The cuts removed advice and assistance from almost all social welfare cases including benefits, employment, housing (except homelessness), immigration (except asylum) and family (except in cases of domestic violence).
Announcing the review, Lidington said: “Our legal aid system is a fundamental pillar of access to justice, accounting for more than a fifth of the Ministry of Justice’s budget. He continued: “The reforms within the Act were founded on delivering better value for money for taxpayers by reducing the cost of the scheme and discouraging unnecessary and adversarial litigation, while ensuring that legal aid continues to be available for the highest priority cases, for example where life or liberty is at stake, where someone faces the loss of their home, in domestic violence cases, or where their children may be taken into care.”
The announcement follows several years of sustained pressure from the Bar Council and many other organisations who work to promote the public interest of our citizens.
The equal access to justice for all, irrespective of wealth, should be the absolute core and fundamental principle of our legal aid system and we welcome the government’s decision to review the impact of the cuts to legal aid.
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