Cut in the legal aid budget evokes criticism

Leading Britain legal aid firm terms it as a hasty move

26th May 2010

The announcement by Chancellor George Osborne MP, pertaining to the cut of £325m, in the Ministry of Justice budget, has evoked criticism by the legal experts. The decision will harm access to justice remarked, Duncan Lewis of  Britain’s leading legal aid firm.

Duncan Lewis termed the announced cut in the legal aid budget as an unnecessarily hasty move. He said that providing access to the justice system was a frontline service that should have been protected in the current spending review. Certainly the Conservative Party’s manifesto had promised a fundamental review of legal aid. It would have been preferable to have waited for this to take place. 

Even as the firm acknowledges that efficiencies must always be sought in the provision of public services, it points out that for more than six years now the legal aid budget has in fact declined in real terms whereas that of other government departments has increased.

Duncan Lewis provides legal aid services as a UK law firm. Every year, it gives over 20,000 people a voice in the legal system. The firm claims of providing the highest quality of legal aid services on the most cost-effective basis. It does this through its unique approach to case management and resource provision which it believes is revolutionising the provision of legal aid services. 

The success of this approach in delivering quality legal services is evident by the fact that the firm holds a variety of accreditations including since 1999, Lexcel and Investors in People, with a Gold Standard being awarded this year. Duncan Lewis also has 10 franchises awarded by the Legal Services Commission.

Chief Executive of the legal aid firm, Shany Gupta said that for the past five years, the legal aid community had already been operating with a declining budget. The announced cut would undoubtedly impact on the feasibility of many firms, harming access to justice. The chief executive asserted visibly legal aids was not a vote winner but everyone should remember that enabling vulnerable members of the public to access the legal system was an essential frontline service.

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