Justice Select Committee report on the legal aid cuts

16 Mar 2015

Resolution welcomes the publication of the Justice Select Committee report on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill on 12 March.

Resolution provided evidence on the impact of the legal aid cuts during the Select Committee hearing, and we call on the next Government to take action on the points raised in the report, particularly around the evidence requirements for domestic violence victims trying to access legal aid.

David Emmerson, co-chair of Resolution’s legal aid committee says:

“The Justice Select Committee report echoes what we’ve heard repeatedly since the legal aid cuts came into force – that there are serious failings in the system that are hindering access to justice for many vulnerable people.”

“The Committee has drawn particular attention to the evidence requirements for legal aid applications for domestic violence victims. This is an area where we, and others who work with domestic abuse victims, have noted critical issues with the system – many people who have suffered domestic abuse find it very difficult to gather together the evidence required by the Legal Aid Agency to get the support they need. We’ve even heard of people being subjected to the horrendous experience facing the courts without legal support, only to be cross-examined directly by their abuser. Surely the Government did not intend this situation, which amounts to a perpetuation of abuse, as a consequence of the legal aid cuts.”

“We call on the next government to undertake a thorough review of the legal aid cuts, with particular attention to the Select Committee’s findings on the domestic violence evidence gateway, and take action to make the necessary reforms. The law exists to protect the vulnerable, not stand in the way of their attempts to access justice.”