Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The fight for access to Justice

A poll conducted for the Criminal Law Solicitor's Association has concluded that the British public believes that legal aid should be a right and not a benefit see Solicitors Journal. The CLSA plans to hold a rally in Westminster on 23rd April to seek to make the governmental attack on legal aid more of an election issue.

A Guardian animation - Superheroes battling for legal aid - also highlights the parlous state of legal aid provision following the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 ( LASPO). 

Cuts to legal aid have been implemented under the mantra of the need to save money in times of austerity. Whilst access to justice - at reasonable cost - ought to be a fundamental democratic right, it is a great sadness that there seems to be no Party with a chance of being in government that is willing to return to anything like the pre-LASPO arrangements.

The lack of legal aid is compounded by the recent imposition of considerable court fees - see Court fee increases approved (6th March) and Criminal Court Charges (4th April).

"EUROPE" is one of the election issues and, in the area of criminal law, there are many "Euro-myths".  In a video, Professor John R Spencer of Cambridge University tackles some of the myths - Is EU criminal law a threat to British justice?

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