Justice Hale on the Legal Aid Cuts

Brenda Hale, Justice of the Supreme Court of the UK, gave a opening speech at the Law Centres Federation Annual Conference 2011 which she used as platform to advise against the upcoming legal aid cuts.

She explained that the adversarial legal system that we have relies on the parties to the proceedings to present and prepare their own case. She highlighted the constitutional principle of access to justice and that legal aid is service which the state owes to its citizens as a matter of principle.

There was also the false economy argument, in that by continuing to provide legal aid allows a little advice to solve an individual’s problem(s) at the earliest opportunity without the need for court intervention. A few letters and a bit of advice can also save the government potentially more money than they are trying to save with the legal aid cuts as it avoids further issues developing. For example, a person with employment issues, if left unresolved, would then have housing and debt issues. By solving the employment issues it prevents those secondary issues developing.

The government accepts that the cuts will have a disproportionate impact upon women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities - therefore they accept that it will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

This is just a brief summary of Justice Hale’s speech. As I have no why given her speech the justice it deserves click here to read it in full.

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