LawWorks LASPO review submissions
LawWorks have made a submission to the Ministry of Justice’s review of the legal aid reforms introduced in 2013, which significantly scaled back the provision of civil and family legal aid.
As part of the LASPO review, LawWorks has made a submission which focuses on a number of detailed points about unmet needs and the problems in accessing justice as a result of the cuts to public funding and reduced scope and eligibility for civil legal aid.
The report aims to go wider, however, to examine the systemic issues, for the justice system and beyond, including the impact on and for pro bono services.
LawWorks have long been working to influence the review in a number of ways, on most recently was through the review conference hosted by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
The key points from the submission are some that how been echoed by the sector more widely:
- Pro bono bono cannot (and should not be expected to) replace or replicate publicly funded legal aid provision, or pick up the slack of significant unmet needs;
- The legal aid system would benefit from simplification: in scope and eligibility rules, to procurement and administration and the ‘gateway’ process; the system is too complex and is not designed with the needs of users in mind;
- There needs to be a strategic refocussing of civil legal aid on early intervention and prevention, and better co-ordination with other public services.
You can read the report in full here.