1,000 signatures reached
To: Her majesty’s Government.
Reverse cuts to legal aid for UK citizens prosecuted by the State and others.
Reverse the erosion of our UK citizen’s access to justice represented by unjustified cuts to legal aid the latest being cuts to the fees paid under the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme (“LGFS”) which makes much of criminal legal aid work uneconomical and a risk to a fair trial by restricting preparation for trials.
Why is this important?
The cuts to access to justice for those facing criminal prosecutions must be reversed before the disaster that has occurred in civil legal aid cases representation is repeated.
It is essential to halt the erosion of access to legal representation in the UK when citizens are facing funded prosecution (especially by the State).
The erosion of legal aid strikes at the heart of our democracy, destabilising the level playing field that Justice requires and increasingly divides the nation between those wealthy enough to buy legal services and the rest who increasingly are forced to act in person.
This false economy causes delay and unplanned expense. It increases social division
The present cuts are imposed despite steadily a steady reduction in legal aid expenditure (From £1,289 in 2010 -11 to £863. In 2016-17. [£’000s].
At a time when the Government is attempting to present a positive image internationally for our legal services the damage to our reputation is in fact immense:
From the Bach Commission evidence ‘Appendix 5: An analysis of evidence received by the Commission’ the following stark conclusions are reached:
1) Cuts to the fees paid under the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme (“LGFS”) make much of criminal legal aid work uneconomical;
(2) The rate of remuneration for advocates in many hearings often falls below the minimum wage.
(3) The application of the merits test and means tests to legal aid in the magistrates’ court and Crown Court prevents deserving clients receiving representation and causes delay.
(4) The number of offices handling legal aid criminal work has gone down by 20%.
Legal advice deserts are being created and increasingly those denied Justice will beat a path to MP’s surgeries in desperation.
We call upon the Government to reverse the cuts and engage in discussions for meaningful reform of the criminal Justice system and its funding.