Legal aid and access to justice have both become prevailing themes on this and other blogs. Legal aid in civil cases has been severely reduced and this coupled with vastly increased charges for the "privilege" of using courts or tribunals has put access to justice out of reach for many.
A letter in The Guardian 1st May strongly makes the point that access to justice is a key element in our democracy. The letter is signed by numerous individuals including two retired Court of Appeal judges. The next government is called upon:
' to abandon the highly controversial restructuring of criminal defence, restore legal help to the many currently without redress and to establish a royal commission to investigate the current crisis regarding the diminution of access to justice. In addition we call for an independent body to review legal aid rates, including expert witness rates so as to depoliticise them and instead move to an evidence-based approach to ensure public need is adequately met in the provision of legal services.'
Please read the letter at The Guardian 1st May 2015 and please bear this in mind when choosing who to vote for in the General Election.
Law and Lawyers - The Conservative Party manifesto
Law and Lawyers - The fight for access to justice
Law and Lawyers - A very brief glance at the Labour Party manifesto
Open letter from Bar chairman, vice chairman and others; 100+ lawyers, doctors, peers, judges condemns #legalaid cuts @guardian http://t.co/EdzIxZcYP6— The Bar Council (@thebarcouncil) May 1, 2015