The Law Society has welcomed the Government’s move to review the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) approximately four years after important cuts were made.
Joe Egan, President of the Law Society has long-criticised the cuts made on 31 March 2013, which he claims have pushed legal aid out of the reach of hundreds of thousands of people.
This is because many individuals have found themselves ineligible for legal aid since the changes were announced, meaning that, in turn, they have been unable to access the specialist legal advice and representation they were seeking, Mr Egan has said.
In recent days, the Government has announced a post-legislative review of LASPO for the first time since the cuts.
Upon confirming the news, the Lord Chancellor David Lidington warned that there would be financial limits on what he can do.
Nevertheless, he said that he would be looking for ways to use finite resources to “the best possible effect” under the circumstances.
Responding to the announcement, Mr Egan of the Law Society, said: “Our [own] report suggests legal aid cuts have actually increased pressure on wider public services – growing numbers of people representing themselves in court, and escalating legal problems because of the removal of legal aid for early advice.
“This post-implementation appraisal by Government is long-awaited and needs to be comprehensive.
“If people cannot access advice or protect their rights, then effectively those rights do not exist,” he said.
“We look forward to contributing to this vitally important review.”