Lords Criticise Legal Aid Reforms

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords on 21 November with only 3 out of the 54 peers offering any support.

The controversial bill seeks to impose various unpopular changes, including the abolition of Legal Aid in Clinical Negligence cases, which were described the Lords as ‘catastrophic’, a ‘huge assault on access to justice’, and ‘constitutionally wrong’.  They said that the bill will affect the sick, vulnerable, bereaved, and injured the most, and will ‘bring shame on our legal system’, ‘undermine the rule of law’ and result in a ‘flood of litigants in person’.

Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals to change the civil costs system were also met with concern, not least because Jackson’s original report insisted on the retention of Legal Aid for Clinical Negligence cases for the reforms to work.

It seems that the Government’s insistence on introducing sweeping changes to the Justice system with blatant disregard to the advice from within is no more than a knee-jerk reaction to overspending, funding gaps, the recession, and media hype.  It remains to be seen which proposals will be retained when the bill is given Royal Assent but however you look at it, dark days appear to be ahead for the most vulnerable in society.

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office’s Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer’s Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).

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