Response: Legal Aid Bill evidence submission

By: Anne Baxendale  Published: July 2011


This bill will impose devastating cuts on legal aid funding for specialist advice to help people solve their housing, debt and welfare benefits problems at an early stage so that issues are less likely to develop into expensive court proceedings. For the sake of saving just £49m, huge knock-on costs will be generated by these cuts. Legal aid for social welfare issues only constitutes 5% of the total cost of legal aid but is being disproportionately hit, losing over a third of its budget.

Summary

The Government has argued that the UK legal aid system is comparatively expensive in relation to other countries, but this is extremely misleading. As the Justice Select Committee and the Council of Europe have said, when all judicial costs are taken into account England and Wales are about equal to the European average.

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