Renewed Criticisms of the Destruction Caused by Legal Aid Cuts
Since 2010, the number of social welfare cases receiving legal aid each year has dropped drastically from 470,000 to just 53,000. This isn't because less people need support, it's because less people can now access it.
This week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the cuts and stated that the right to legal aid is a "basic human right"
. Emma Pearmaine, Family Lawyer at Simpson Millar Solicitors, looks at the harm caused:
Chaos for Both Families and the Courts
Our Family team at Simpson Millar see first-hand the difficulties people who need access to justice face in trying to qualify for this support and the harm restrictions cause."Without legal aid many people are forced to navigate complex legal cases alone; this can have devastating consequences for their future and can lead to drawn out, traumatic court proceedings when individuals must self-represent.""Increasingly, the courts are seeing people in the midst of complicated and highly emotive family disputes litigating in person. This is not only very difficult and distressing for the person self-representing, it can also be a burden on the court."
Victims of domestic violence
have been especially hard-hit, those in need of legal support to escape abuse face the hurdle of providing evidence of the domestic abuse to be able to qualify. In reality, only a third of victims are able to successfully provide this, as found by the Justice Select Committee.
Domestic abuse is also rarely a stand-alone problem; victims often also need help with children issues
, immigration questions
and accommodation difficulties.
Access to Justice: Fixed Fee Options
Our Family Law team continue to take legal aid cases and oppose the cuts. To go some way towards bridging the gap legal aid reforms have left behind, we now offer fixed fee legal advice to help provide more cost effective access to justice.Our Solicitors are experts in all aspects of family law, including divorce, children issues and domestic violence, and know that disputes come with both emotional and financial concerns. Our fixed price services ensure you get the professional support you need whilst giving you complete certainty over the costs.