20% drop in legal aid providers

Family Law|September 20th 2017

The number of legal aid providers across England and Wales has fallen by 20 per cent in the last five years.

This drop was revealed by government figures obtained by Shadow Justice Minister Gloria De Piero. The statistics show that the biggest reduction occurred in Wales, which has lost 29 per cent of providers since 2012. The south-west, north-west and Merseyside also had significant losses with 28, 27 and 24 per cent drops respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, London had the smallest reduction of providers with only 13 per cent fewer than it had five years ago.

Overall the 20 per cent fall represents 598 fewer providers of legal aid throughout the country, going from 2,991 to 2,393.

These drops were the result of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act, which severely reduced the number of cases which were eligible for legal aid. In family law, such helps was all-but eliminated. Now the only people who qualify for legal aid in family cases are those who can prove they have been a victim of domestic violence.

In a parliamentary written question submitted following the publication of these figures, De Piero said that how much a person earns “shouldn’t make a difference to whether [they] can get legal advice” but it was “clear that the government’s cuts to legal aid are making it harder for people to access justice”.

She demanded that ministers “stop dragging their feet” on a review of legal aid.

Richard Miller, Head of Justice at the Law Society, said these figures represented “hundreds of thousands of people who can no longer obtain legal aid for matters such as family break up”. The drop in providers also showed “that increasingly it is no longer economically viable for solicitors to do this work” he added.

Photo DaveBleasdale via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(23)

  1. spinit says:

    You guys are really afraid of hearing the truth, well I guess if you put your fingers in your ears long enough everything will be just fine.

    • Paul says:

      They know the truth.
      Its called industrial action. They are standing back an deliberatly watching men and other unrepresented partys go through the meat grinder ‘stitching them up to create some shocking statistics for the government so they have to reinstate legal aid.
      (soliciters benefits)
      Its called industrial action.
      Its also highly ILLEGAL.
      Its written in law that we are entittled to a
      ‘Fair and impartial trial’
      It would suggest from this post that courts have been will fully and actively ruling in ‘thouands of cases which were not equal and legal representation was not equally balanced.
      This would in no way meet the LEGAL requirement of ‘Fair’.
      The irrony is that we have to trust these people to dispence a little something called ‘justice’.
      Id say it was a joke. But jokes are funny. This is just full on narcism at its worst. You can draw real paralells with medi evil witch trials.

      • Cameron Paterson says:

        So solicitors are deliberately not providing legal aid services in order to deprive men and unrepresented people of justice…because legal aid is no longer available? I’m afraid I’m not quite seeing the logic here

        • Dr Grumpy says:

          If I understand what is being eluded to here is a similar situation to that with ‘free’ nursery places. The government is only offering reimbursement which doesn’t actually meet the costs of providing the service and are having to withdraw from the scheme (if they can) This is the situation with legal aid. The knock on effect is that those offering Pro Bono services are inundated with requests for help. Since this is a voluntary service i.e. charity how many lawyers are able to give up 3 days to look at a case and represent a client? If your case is likely to go beyond 3 days they won’t take your case. As with legal aid if the Pro Bono unit thinks you have no chance then you’re on your own illness or not!

        • Paul says:

          Soliciters can’t take the credit here Cameron. I may have cantered off subject a little again. But again. It is relivant. This one falls squarely at the feet of the courts. Soliciters are only following the pay checks (or lack of them) we are capitalists. I can’t blame them for that. Though I would argue the relationship between capitalism and justice is problematic at best. Im sure there will still be enough legal aid workers to ensure women can follow advice on gingerbread and successfully ‘ditch daddy’.
          When the Cons finally cave in and re-enstate legal aid because of a lack of new direction im 100% certain they will be back like a murder of crows pattering for worms after a rain fall.
          You know what I am elluding too.
          The courts are happly watching men fall on their swords. You know they are ! As a litigant in person I think its fair to say that you have segnificantly less chance of been successful now than you did when the legal aid gravy train was in motion.
          A swath of failing litigants in person creating a outragious shocking statistic may convince those dastardly conservatives to bring legal aid back into play would it not ? –
          Can so many people be so bad at litigating for themselves ? Really ? – is it that difficult to present a case where by you are a fit and propper person to father your own children?
          Is that so difficult for so many men ?
          If you disagree please feel free to say so.
          It was not my ex’s soliciter who did the damage. It was my observation that it was the courts themselves taking deliberate action to make sure i could not successfully litagate. Deliberatly obstructing me.
          Just an observation.

  2. Paul says:

    Sorry Cameron Patterson. This artical contains a statement which is factually untrue.
    ‘Now the only people who qualify for legal aid in family cases are those who can prove they have been a victim of domestic violence.’
    Thats NOT TRUE at all. You don’t have to provide ANY evidence DV has taken place. You just tick a box on the form.
    The same is true when you make a claim to the CMS. Their is a £20 charge which is wavered if you ‘tick a box’ claiming you are a victim of DV.
    No evidence is asked for or required.
    If you say DV has taken place it is accepted as fact.
    No evidence is required to be provided.
    Yet nobody sees ANY problem with this at all. (Worlds gone fxxkin nuts.)
    Anyway Cameron I would appreciate it if you withdrew that statement as it is factually innaccurate.
    King regards. Paul.

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Hi Paul – the author of that article was referring to this

      • Stitchedup says:

        So you’re confirming that Paul is correct??
        I guess evidence from the courts ot police would include a non mol which we all know can be secured without any evidence of domestic violence… I think you know that by now Cameron? Are you going to point me to a moj website that disputes this??

        • Cameron Paterson says:

          I just put a question mark against Paul’s initial suggestion that *all claims of domestic violence are false. Non-molestation orders are a separate issue

          • Paul says:

            Well Cameron. The link would not open last night but im glad it has now.
            My ex certainly could not of provided any of that. Because no such evidence exists.
            So what evidence has been provided ?
            How do I get access to the information she has provided ?
            This is utter nonsense.
            Are solicters subject to access to information requests ? Can I request such information?

          • Cameron Paterson says:

            Interesting question. I’ll ask one of the solicitors for you

          • Paul says:

            If such allegations were put in writing. Paper work was submitted and no such evidence could be provided then that would constitute libel would it not ?
            I don’t currently have any convictions for domestic violence. I was wrongfully convicted of harassment. I appealed it and won my appeal quashing the offense. It never took place.
            So what evidence could possibly be provided of my participation in Domestic Violence?
            The act of proccessing information to the effect that my ex is a ‘victim of domestic violence’ is in effect a stain on my character.
            With out question I should have an oppertunity to view and question the validity of this evidence should I not.

          • Cameron Paterson says:

            I’m not a lawyer so can’t comment myself

          • Paul says:

            You really should hire one. That would be interesting.

          • Dr Grumpy says:

            Could you not ask for your police records under a freedom of information request? Any public body that has information about you has a duty to release it to you

    • Dr Grumpy says:

      There is a list of the evidence needed to claim legal aid as a victim of DV. Unless arrest conviction etc have occurred then the rest is heavily weighed in the female’s favour since how many male DV rescue centres are there or organisations that help with male DV victims.
      I have lost my home and my kids because she was able to repeat allegations without any basis in the courts and to social services who believed her!
      Being a 6’4″ black belt in Karate seems to mean that you cannot be taken seriously as a DV victim. I am still trying to get medical evidence to access legal aid but time has run out! Seems mental illness doesn’t prevent you from having a fair trial where you have to represent yourself.
      If the judicial system in England can’t deliver then I will have to rely on Karma to dispense justice on the guilty party.

      • Cameron Paterson says:

        Shelters for male victims of DV are not completely unknown but certainly scandalously few

        https://www.stowefamilylaw.co.uk/2016/01/26/more-men-killed-by-domestic-violence-in-cornwall/

        There is also at least one organisation for male victims:

        http://new.mankind.org.uk/

        • Dr Grumpy says:

          I lived in Dartford I was forced to leave FMH as ex said if i didn’t go she would call the police and allege DV. What choice did I have? Where could I go? On paper I should’ve been able to have found somewhere but where when your whole world has just collapsed? My refuge ended up being a psychiatric hospital!
          Looking back she planned this all along she just needed an excuse to get me out ‘voluntarily’
          She then claimed the house for the kids, 2 of which she put yes put into care, then married her female partner. Seems she has been having adulterous lesbian affairs behind my back but of course the courts would want absolute proof. But her allegations of DV remain on the police national computer just because they are ‘allegations’?

      • Paul says:

        As a coincidence. I nonlonger train but I was a 1st kyu in Shotokan at the time all this went down. Its shocking how simlar our stories can get. Though im only 5’9 lol

  3. Paul says:

    Whats the source and who is the author ?
    Should not be aloud to repeat it. Its simply not true.
    No ‘proof’ is required. If these people who made allegations had to provide proof of DV then there would be virtually no legal aid cases at all. Peter Pan has more substance than most of these cases.

  4. Dr Grumpy says:

    Don’t I know it! As a male victim of domestic violence who just ‘sucked it up’ as part of being husband & wife and then Was subjected to psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of my ex particularly as a result of her using the kids as a weapon it is so difficult to show the evidence needed for legal aid to be granted even applying for Pro Bono was not easy and because they are under pressure they are rejecting a lot of cases which they might have taken on a few years ago. I feel that the legal system has let me down badly as well as my kids. One day I hope someone will ask ” how the hell did this happen?”

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