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Lib Dems call for review into legal aid cuts

September 19, 2016 9:10 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Lord Jonathan Marks QCThe Liberal Democrats have called for an urgent review into the effect of cuts to the legal aid budget and increased court fees.

The changes have seen a rise in the number of people coming before the courts without being represented by a lawyer, as well as deterring individuals and small businesses from taking legal action.

Exceptional case funding, which provides a crucial safety net to prevent people from going unrepresented in court, has seen an extremely low uptake due to lack of awareness and complex application procedures.

Today Liberal Democrats made a raft of proposals to increase access to justice including:

  • Taking action to improve uptake of exceptional case funding
  • Making legal aid available to all children and vulnerable young people
  • Simplifying procedures for accessing legal aid in domestic violence cases.

Lord Jonathan Marks QC, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson, commented:

"It is now becoming clear that cuts to the legal aid budget have had drastic and unintended consequences on access to justice."

"We must urgently review the legal aid scheme and ensure it is fair for all those who need to use it."

"In particular the government must do more to improve the uptake of exceptional case funding which provides a vital safety net for the most vulnerable in society."

Read the motion in full here.