Bench Council has warned that families throughout England and Wales have actually felt the full brunt of the Government’s civil legal help cuts, with a drop of 15,000 per quarter, comparable to 60,000 a year, in the number of individuals getting legal aid for family cases which litigate, and 40,000 per quarter, equivalent to 160,000 a year, in the number of individuals receiving suggestions on their household law issues.
The Ministry of Justice’s own statistics for legal aid for Q2 2014 expose that because cuts to civil legal aid came into result in April 2013 under the Government’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act the variety of individuals getting legal representation on legal help plunged from 40,090 in January-March 2013 to 23,149 in April-June 2014, with the bulk of the cuts striking household law cases.
Nicholas Lavender QC, Chairman of the Bar, stated that The quarterly legal aid data are a welcome contribution to a more transparent approach to the workings of legal aid. They also demonstrate the complete effect of the cuts to civil legal help, which is having a profound effect on the lives of numerous vulnerable individuals across England & Wales. We alerted the Ministry of Justice that the cuts would mean that countless households would be denied access to justice and our prediction, sadly for those impacted, has become a reality.
The current quarterly figures reveal that households dealing with major concerns, such as disputes worrying children, are efficiently being shut out of the justice system. The human effects of cutting a huge part of family law out of legal aid are plainly being seen.
Previously, the Bar Council report LASPO: One Year On, discovered the impact the modifications were already having on access to justice. The official legal help statistics echo some of those workings with, states bench Council.