Legal aid could result in ‘advice deserts’, study suggests

Family Law|News|April 10th 2013

Warwick University‘Advice deserts’ have been predicted in different regions of the country following the introduction of legal aid cuts earlier this month.

A recent survey of 674 people working in legal aid-funded family and civil  law suggests that some parts of the country will be hit particularly hard by the cuts. No less than half the respondents who said that their service was likely to close completely during 2013 came from the north of England. Meanwhile, a higher than expected number of respondents saying their services was likely to close over the next two years were based in the Midlands.

People living in rural areas, children, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged were likely to hardest hit by the cuts, the professionals claimed.

The respondents worked in both the not-for-profit sector and private practice. A number said they were trying to protect their existing clients from the full impact of the cuts, reducing their overheads and applying for other funding.

The State of the Sector: The impact of cuts to civil legal aid on practitioners and their clients was written by Natalie Byrom and published by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at the University of Warwick.

A foreword by Patrick Torsney and Patrick Henderson of website ilegal claims that the legal aid cuts “had no mandate” and that they indicate that “equality before the law is no longer a statutory principle of our society.”

The foreword adds:

“The likely impact on social cohesion of both welfare reform and turning the justice clock back to the pre-Beveridge 1940s will be profound.”

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act removed legal aid funding from most civil and family law cases earlier this month.

Photo of the University of Warwick by Necrothesp via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence



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  1. davidmortimermiltonkeynes says:

    It is not possible to use the current family court system, without the winner takes all issue of domestic violence being raised’ which guarantees legal aid.

  2. James Booker says:

    This was a good post, I enjoyed reading this with my morning Coffee!

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