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Legal Aid budget review nearly complete - funding plummets

21th 01 2019

 

The Ministry of Justice has announced that it has nearly completed their delayed review of the impact of the controversial legal aid reforms. They have published a table showing an alarming fall in the number of people who have been granted public funding over the last 10 years.

Between 2008-2009, there were 135,751 legal help matter starts and 51 civil representation granted. For 2017-2018, these figures have dropped to 443 legal help matter starts and 9 civil representation granted.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) was introduced in April 2013.

Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, head of policy at the Law Centres Network:

Remaining legal aid for benefits appeals 'is just half of one per cent' of what it was pre-LASPO.

 'It is barely there. Over years of major welfare reform, this legal aid cut has left tens of thousands of vulnerable people in the lurch when trying to secure their livelihood. Last year there were over 238,000 first-tier benefits appeals and legal aid helped with none - they’re no longer in scope - and with just 452 Upper Tribunal appeals across all of England and Wales.'

'Denying people help with appeals not only obstructs their right to challenge the state, but also hampers resolving other problems, such as housing or debt, which are still in scope. We have repeatedly made this point to MoJ and we expect to see it addressed in the LASPO review.'