The main barriers to justice are the high cost of legal representation, the difficulty of navigating the tribunal process without support and a low level of knowledge about employment rights.
This is according to the September 2018 report (pdf) from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), since it came into force in 2013.
This research underlines the emotional, social, financial and mental health impacts for individuals who have attempted to resolve their legal problems without legal aid, following the implementation of the LASPO.
The paper finds:
- The high cost of legal fees is a key barrier to justice. Some participants who paid for legal advice or representation reported going into debt as a result
- Many participants reported that the costs of bringing their claims to tribunal were disproportionate to the value of the claims. This deterred them from bringing claims and made it harder to find a solicitor willing to take their case
- LASPO has significantly reduced the capacity of voluntary sector organisations to provide welfare law advice. There is almost no specialist advice left to provide support to appeal benefits decisions.