Justice for All: help us fight proposed cuts to legal aid

14 February 2011
Communications Officer

In November the Government announced proposed cuts of around 15% to the legal aid budget in England and Wales. If implemented these proposals mean that many people with legal problems involving employment, welfare benefits, debt, immigration and family breakdown will only receive assistance if they can afford to pay for it.

It is estimated that over 2 million people each year receive legal aid of some sort. These cuts will seriously undermine the fair trial rights of many vulnerable groups who may have no other recourse to justice. People with disabilities currently represent 63% of legally aided clients in the welfare system - others in the line of fire include refugees and victims of crime.

In difficult economic times managing personal debt and accessing benefits are likely to become realities of life for many, yet the Government plans to place legal assistance beyond the reach of those who need it. We believe this will not only lead to injustice for the individuals involved, but also weaken rights protections for all of us by allowing violations to go unchallenged.

Valentine’s Day marks the end of a Ministry of Justice consultation on the proposals, to which Liberty has responded - read our response (PDF). We have also joined the Justice for All coalition to fight the planned cuts to legal aid, and you can take part in the campaign too, by sending an ‘I Love Legal Aid’ Valentine's e-card to Justice Minister Ken Clarke today.

We will continue to urge  the Government to rethink these proposals which would see over half a million fewer people get the advice they need and seriously undermine access to justice in this country.