LSB Report Might Give Insight Into Legal Aid Review Outcomes
Published 11/10/2018 by Suhanya Jeyashiri
Since it’s implementation, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) has been met with vast amounts of controversy. It has left no free legal assistance stone unturned in its quest to cut funding for advice, and the consequent impact has been seismic.
In the five years since the act came into force, it has become clear that the impact of LASPO legislation has gone far beyond the initial intention; the amount on money being saved has been much more than expected as the sector’s ability to deliver services become crippled, and even Conservative MPs who previously backed the measures are now speaking of their regret.
While the implementation and effects of LASPO are something which the advice sector and the professional legal bodies have long campaigned about there has been a notable exception from the profession’s ‘super regulator’ the Legal Services Board (LSB). The LSB has historically refused to adopt a policy position on legal aid reform. Despite claiming that unmet legal need was a key concern for them, they remained steadfastly unwilling to comment on how government chose to allocate public money. Despite aiming to “put the interests of consumers at the heart of the system” their response when asked on their position was that they were only able to highlight “where problems in the legislative framework hinder the delivery of regulatory objectives.”
The ability to engage with the legal system, bring your case to be impartially heard and see justice being done is a key component to our society. When these rights and abilities are restricted, through accessibility, affordability or any other factors, people suffer and it is consequently the most vulnerable communities and those facing major hardships who suffer the most.