By: John Gallagher
Published: October 2013
Shelter is responding to a call for evidence on Legal Aid reform from the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Legal Aid reform proposals could have the effect of increasing the number of homeless people. They raise human rights issues of fundamental significance to access to justice and the rule of law.
Shelter welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights regarding the significant reforms that are being proposed to legal aid. More than one million people a year come to us for advice and support via our website, helpline and network of face-to-face services, including 25,000 people we see each year under legal aid contracts. At present we employ over 200 advisers and 40 solicitors to give advice and offer legal representation to the public. Our evidence is therefore rooted in the experiences of people we help every day, many of whom will be deeply affected by these changes. Shelter is extremely concerned about the current legal aid proposals and their effect on our homeless clients. These measures, if implemented, will take away a major part of the safety net that stands between families and the street.