Legal Aid Provision
The stark figures of the latest Law Society analysis
Recent tabloid reports have drawn out the eye-raising numbers provided by the Law Society, who suggest millions of people have no access to legal aid.
The analysis suggests some 52 million people live in areas where there is no publicly-funded legal aid for education matters, with 47 million people having no help with benefit payment matters. There are a further 40 million people that cannot get social care help, 38 million with no access to immigration help and 23.5 million people that have no aid for housing matters.
The Law Society has attributed these numbers to cuts in legal aid and the overly complex processes in place, when law firms apply to become a legal aid provider. The Ministry of Justice response stated it was: “misleading to compare legal aid services to local authority areas as that is not how provision is set”, adding: “Everyone in England and Wales is able to access help and advice, either face-to-face or by telephone.”
What’s the industry view about the latest Law Society’s analysis?
Cartwright King owner, Steve Gelsthorpe, is a long-time advocate of Legal Aid and offers a candid assessment of the recent Law Society analysis: “The Ministry of Justice has tried to explain itself in the face of criticism from the Law Society and elsewhere over the ‘Legal Aid Desert’ that has opened up right across the country.
“There’s no doubt that law firms are shying away from providing legal services to folk who really need them in these challenging times. This is particularly true of those people who are less well off and those people whose first language is not English, yet who have been either welcomed into the country or are being encouraged to remain here.
“Many families have been crushed by the double-whammy effect Covid and Brexit has had on their lives and society has a duty of care towards them. The challenge legal service providers have, is wrestling with the bureaucracy and the harsh fee-rates allowed by the Ministry. For this reason, many reputable law firms will not provide these essential services.
“Here at Cartwright King, we believe we should not forsake this vital public service. These are the very areas of our practice that that define our DNA. We have a raft of measures in place to ensure that our dedicated lawyers can go the extra mile, on behalf of those clients who desperately need our advice and representation.”
How can Cartwright King help if I need Legal Aid?
Cartwright King has a wealth of experienced professionals that can help with making a Legal Aid assessment. For specialist advice in any of our areas of law, please call us or email your enquiry using the handy contact form.
All advice is correct at time of publication.