Four years ago, the then government implemented the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Hundreds of thousands of people, who were eligible on 31 March 2013, became ineligible for legal aid the very next day.
In June 2017, the Law Society reviewed changes introduced under the act (pdf).
The review concluded that cuts to legal aid spending have not only denied justice to the most vulnerable in society and hit the public purse, but also damaged the foundation of our justice system.
The review concludes that:
- Legal aid is no longer available for many of those who need it
- Those eligible for legal aid find it hard to access it
- Wide gaps in provision are not being addressed
- LASPO has had a wider and detrimental impact on the state and society
…and includes 25 recommendations to Government; focusing on issues like increasing children’s access to legal aid, reintroducing legal aid for early advice, and improving Exceptional Case Funding and the legal aid means test.