An independent panel has published a report into the repercussions of a future without legal aid.
The panel was made up of people with no vested interest in legal aid and included a former liberal democrat MP, the Cannon of Westminster Abbey and the assistant general secretary of the trade union Unite. They heard evidence from ordinary people who had used and benefited from legal aid and considered the impact of these people losing the right to legal aid.
The report concluded the following:
1. Legal aid is vital to protecting the rights of vulnerable people.
2. Legal aid is vital to upholding the rule of law.
3. Legal aid is essential to holding the state to account.
4. Cutting legal aid is a false economy.
5. A holistic approach is needed in providing legal aid.
6. Cuts to legal aid will drive out committed lawyers.
7. Cutting legal aid is not a fair or effective way to reduce unnecessary litigation.
We agree wholeheartedly with all of the above points. At Higgins Miller we always see going to court as a last resort and where appropriate we always refer our clients to mediation to try to assist them in resolving disputes. The government’s proposed cuts would prevent us from even giving initial and sensible advice to help our clients avoid court proceedings which we believe will actually cause disputes to become more embittered and less likely to be resolved quickly and satisfactorily.
You can read the full report here.