Ten reasons why Liberty
oppose the Legal Aid cuts proposed by the Government:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Court doors in England
will be effectively locked to anyone other than criminal defendants and
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.