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Ministry of Justice pledges to spend £8m on legal support

11th 02 2019

 

The MoJ have finally revealed their findings of their review of the controversial cuts introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO).

The Act was introduced in response to the “economic downturn and tight resources across departments” (Lord Chancellor David Gauke).

LASPO was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in the field of access to justice. It introduced funding cuts to legal aid as well as narrowed the scope and financial eligibility criteria, meaning fewer people could access legal aid.

An action plan was announced alongside the review.

David Gauke on the plan;

It ‘goes beyond’ addressing the concerns raised by over 100 organisations and individuals during the review.’

 ‘This is a strategy to overhaul the current system, transforming the way people access support while ensuring the system remains sustainable and taxpayer funding is targeted where it is most effective. We want to ensure resources are spent on what works.’

Litigants in person will be provided with an additional £3m over two years. There will also be proposals brought forward to expand legal aid to include separated migrant children in immigration as well as proposals for expanding legal aid to cover special guardianship orders in private family law.

The Bar Council said £8m is a ‘drop in the ocean’ given the extent to which LASPO has restricted access to justice.

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said she hopes the changes will make it easier for ordinary people to qualify for legal aid and access essential support.

‘The government must give urgent attention to amending the means test thresholds because the current levels are preventing families in poverty from accessing justice.’