Universal access to civil legal aid is necessary to protect individual freedom

February 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Helen Grant, MP for the rilling coalition in the UK, argues against the plans of her own government to cut £350K off the legal aid budget:

“Over the last three decades the distance between the haves and have- nots has increased, and our society has weakened due to the demise of the family unit and the rise of the benefits culture. These are ailments that will take some time to cure; but to stem the flow of legal aid while we are in such a critical condition, amid a stifling recession, could prove devastating.

Experience shows that members of the public are not well-equipped to represent themselves on a legal stage. Technical issues of law and procedure aside, it is virtually impossible to maintain composure and focus when you yourself are the subject of litigation. Further, self-representation will most likely fall to those least capable of planning or articulating their case. And let us be clear about who these cuts will affect: a third of legal-aid clients who have received advice on debt, and a staggering two-thirds of those needing advice on benefits, have an illness or disability. It cannot be right that those most in need of support are left without it.”

Read the article in the Guardian


Entry filed under: Access to Justice, Legal Advice, Legal Aid, UK.

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