The government has been warned that changes to the legal aid system will lead to delayed justice
Speaking in the House of Lords yesterday, Labour peer Lord Harrison, said the likely rise in “legally unaided, go-it-alone litigants” in family law cases would introduce greater delays in getting justice as well as “uncertain outcomes”, if the legal aid system is changed in England and Wales
But Justice minister Lord McNally said the coalition wanted to reduce overall demand for court cases.
“It is partly our intention to divert family and welfare cases away from outright litigation towards mediation and less confrontational ways of settling disputes,” he said.
“That may—and, we hope, will—change the pattern of demand in this area. That is the basis on which the government are bringing forward their proposals.”
Ministers have said Britain’s bill for the legal aid system is among the highest in the world and they want to reduce costs by ensuring only those who really need help can access public funding.
Under plans before Parliament civil legal aid will be confined to the most serious of cases.
But critics have warned the move will have an adverse effect on the vulnerable, especially children.