Saturday 22 November 2014

A few items of interest ...

A little list of items of interest ............

1. Severe cuts to legal aid have taken place in England and Wales.  The impact of these cuts is certainly being felt by many people who need access to law and must now try to fight their own case amid the thicket of law or, alternatively, who must simply give up the fight against the more powerful opponent with deeper and often publicly funded pockets.  In a report by the National Audit Office, the Ministry of Justice has been accused of slashing legal aid without understanding the impact of the cuts.  According to the National Audit Office, the £300m cuts to legal aid ‘cannot be said to have delivered better overall value for money for the taxpayer’.  
  • Read the full report here
The report's conclusions are not surprising
but then again the cuts were, I believe, more to do with political ideology (to remove access to justice for people) rather than the economic downturn.

2. At a time when the Human Rights Act 1998 is under political attack, the British Institute of Human Rights has published - The Human Rights Act: Changing Lives.  Click here and download your copy.

3. BabyBarista blog has this interview between Lord Bingham of Cornhill and Shami Chakrabarti

4. On Criminal Law and Justice, Simon Tabbush looks at options for reforming Offences against the Person.  At the request of the Ministry of Justice. this topic is currently under review by the Law Commission - see earlier post.

5. Few would doubt that the statute book (i.e. the immense volume of legislation) is a mess.  Amendments are piled on  top of amendments and attempts by the legislature to tidy things up are rare.  One method - certainly used in the past - was the enactment of a Consolidation Act to bring together in one Act all the legislation relating to some particular topic.  Such Act are nowadays rare.  The Will Macgregor blog suggests that there be a general power for Ministers to consolidate Acts by using Statutory Instruments instead of having to enact a Consolidation Act.  An idea worthy of consideration I would have thought. 


  1. I am not a lawyer but it does seem to me that is would be quite impossible for a citizen to discover exactly which twists and turns and tricks of the law would apply should the citizen require to know. Given this it seems quite unfair that citizens cannot get legal help at reasonable cost. Rather than mess about using lawyers to 'tidy things up' why not codify the law such that citizens can download a 'Barrister App' linked to a codified law system. Said App can guide them through the law addressing questions such as 'how do I get out of this'. If the law is not codified in a way that is understandable by a decent computer system - well the lawyers and legislators have done a poor job.

  2. Legal aid is a pressing issue for thousands of people every month in the UK. As a motoring law specialist at Patterson law our clients are not eligible for legal aid unless they are facing possible imprisonment. Even then they often have to fight. I especially feel for the family disputes that are no longer covered as this issue will cause untold misery for many families already dealing with the breakdown of a primary relationship.