02 May 2013
The Haldane Society has released a document in opposition to further legal aid cuts, which is in line with the IER’s viewpoint on the restriction of access to justice.
Please take some time to read the Society’s consultation response and standard letter and support them in their campaign by clicking here. A note from the Haldane Society is below.
The IER has also recently released publications critiquing the attack on workers’ access to justice, including Justice Deferred: a Critical Guide to the Coalition’s Employment Tribunal Reform and Access to Justice in Employment Disputes: surveying the terrain.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
The LASPO cuts to legal aid came into force on 1 April 2013, despite a high-profile campaign against those cuts conducted by Justice for All, Citizens Advice Bureaux, voluntary groups and legal groups. Just nine days later, on 9 April 2013, the Ministry of Justice announced a consultation on a whole new tranche of cuts to legal aid. The consultation is called “Transforming legal aid: delivering a more credible and efficient system” and is open until 4 June 2013.
The consultation proposes price competitive tendering for criminal defence which will destroy community legal services, herald a race to the bottom which will only favour those large corporations who can absorb the losses, and remove from the defendants the right to a lawyer of their choice. It also proposes cuts to civil legal aid services, on top of cuts in rates which were brought in 18 months ago, and on top of the cuts to the availability of legal aid which came into force on 1 April 2013. If the proposals in this consultation document are implemented, criminal defence will be carried out by large corporations tendering at rock bottom prices, and civil legal aid will almost certainly disappear. Specialist expert legal aid lawyers, committed to acting for people who cannot afford legal representation, will not be able to continue to provide legal services.
Legal aid lawyers are not highly paid, indeed two years ago the Guardian found that the average salary for a legal aid lawyer was £25,000. We are campaigning to save legal aid not because of lawyers’ self-interest but because without legal aid, those who cannot afford to pay for lawyers will find themselves unable to protect their rights.
We are asking that your branch responds to the Ministry of Justice consultation before 4 June 2013. We have attached a document containing:
- a model motion for your branch to consider passing;
- a draft response to be sent into the Ministry of Justice consultation;
- a summary of the details of the proposals from the Ministry of Justice; and
- a statement from the Haldane Society opposing these cuts
Responses to the consultation should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and please do send copies to us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com. We are very grateful for your support to this threat to abolish the fourth pillar of the welfare state. In solidarity, Liz Davies (Chair Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers)