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Family legal aid firms 'to be cut by 60 per cent'

8 February 2011

The number of firms offering family legal aid services would be cut by 60 per cent under the government’s green paper proposals, the Legal Action Group (LAG) has estimated.

Steve Hynes, director of LAG, said the number of firms would fall from 2,400 to less than 1,000 if private law family work was removed from the scope of legal aid.

“More will go than would have done under the new legal aid contracts which were the subject of the Law Society’s judicial review,” Hynes said.

“Legal aid would be limited to public law family cases and domestic violence. There won’t be enough family firms to cover the whole country and we will end up with a very ad hoc service.”

In a separate development, the Law Society will launch a campaign to harness public opposition to the legal aid cuts later this week.

Called ‘sounding off for justice’, the idea is to encourage the public to show their opposition and ‘sound off’ by signing up to the campaign at a special website, www.soundoffforjustice.org, which is due to go live at any moment.

The website will ask members of the public to agree to three basic principles: that there is a right to legal representation; that no one should be denied legal protection because they cannot afford it; and that everyone should be able to challenge unfair decisions by government, businesses, institutions and anyone else.

The site will feature case studies of people who would suffer under the cuts.

Categorised in:

Legal Aid Divorce Costs