Tuesday 7 June 2011

Letter 23: How the Coalition will limit access to the "National Health Service of the legal system

A deep injustice is to be unveiled this month: the Government plans to reduce the legal aid budget by £350m and according to Des Hudson, Chief Executive of the Law Society of England and Wales, the cuts will leave half a million people without proper representation, often struggling to deal inadequately with legal issues alone .
Yet there is a fully costed and practical alternative which would preserve the rights to legal aid for those who need it most.  It does seem as if the Coalition has made some extremely cynical calculations by choosing such financial 'efficiencies' - but at what cost? Des Hudson nailed it when he said: "In our view, leaving fellow citizens to fight their own cause on their own, by denying them proper professional advice represents a gross injustice. It is inconsistent with a civilised society, which has always prided itself on living under the rule of law - and access to justice - and legal representation. The rule of law means little without true access to law. As currently conceived, the cuts will mean that the poorest and most vulnerable members of society may be unable to assert their rights under the law." 
Shame on us all if we sit by and allow it to happen.

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