Five actions for the festive season

2011 will go down in history as the year pro-democracy rebellions erupted across the Middle East. The hunger for basic rights and freedoms across the world should remind us all of the ever present need to protect and defend rights at home.

Read more

10 reasons Liberty is fighting the Legal Aid cuts

The Government is planning on cutting the legal aid system in England and Wales beyond all recognition, in an effort to save £350million from the £2.1billion legal aid budget.

Read more

>Ten reasons...

...why Liberty oppose the Legal Aid cuts proposed by the Government

Ten reasons why Liberty
oppose the Legal Aid cuts proposed by the Government:

  1. False economies – financial savings will be short
    term only. Issues which could have been dealt with earlier with simple advice
    will be left to escalate. Short term savings will lead to long term cost
  2. Free, independent advice and representation on
    legal matters is essential to achieve justice for all. Without legal aid,
    we cannot call ourselves a fair society.
  3. There will be reduced access to justice for the most vulnerable
    people in our society, including victims of crimes (who will no longer
    receive help to claim compensation), people with disabilities and children.
  4. Our courts will be thrown into chaos by litigants
    in person with no legal knowledge. Judges will be turned into social
    workers as they are forced to deal with non-legal issues.
  5. In the deepest economic recession since the 1930s
    there will be no legal aid for partners embroiled in bitter child custody
    disputes, disabled people attempting to grapple with changes to the
    welfare benefits system and families struggling with debt.
  6. Court doors in England
    and Wales
    will be effectively locked to anyone other than criminal defendants and
    the super-rich.
  7. Rights protections for all of us will be weakened
    by allowing violations to go unchallenged. Public authorities will have no
    reason to correct errors or improve their practices if they know that
    people cannot challenge their acts and decisions.
  8. Without legal aid in family and immigration
    matters, those unable to navigate the court system may remain separated
    from family members abroad or lose access to their children.
  9. Attacks on access to justice will not just hit the most vulnerable - other
    Government proposals will mean that people on low or average
    incomes may be discouraged from upholding
    their rights by the higher costs involved.
  10. Fewer people still will know how to go about
    bringing legal proceedings and have the confidence to put forward
    arguments in an intimidating court environment.

Access to Justice

Access to justice should be equal, open and fair.