It’s a contentious subject and one that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. The governments continuing cuts to legal aid are affecting some of the most vulnerable members of society.
In a move supported by campaigners against legal aid cuts the court of appeal is allowing a case to go ahead that impacts on the reform of prisoners. In fact denying prisoners in England and Wales legal aid so they can effectively challenge the conditions under which they are held could be illegal, the court of appeal has ruled.
The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) argued that legal aid cuts had left vulnerable prisoners, including the mentally ill and mothers being separated from their children, without any protections.
Their case was originally rejected by the high court, however on 28th July three court of appeal judges overturned the decision and said there was a risk the current system was unfair or unlawful.
“The question of inherent unfairness concerns not simply the structure of the system which may be capable of operating fairly, but whether there are mechanisms in place to accommodate the arguably higher risk of unfair decisions for those with mental health, learning or other difficulties which effectively deprive them of the ability effectively to participate in, at least, some of the decisions,” Lord Justice Leveson said.
These continuing cuts are now impacting on all areas of society. Nobody anticipates the need for legal representation. However sometimes we find ourselves in unchartered waters. It’s troubling enough being in the position to need legal guidance without having the additional pressure of worrying about how it’s going to be funded?
Manchester and London based solicitors Ralli have introduced a new fixed fee service in response to the legal aid reforms taking place. Fixed fee costs can be found on our website for both magistrates court and crown court. We can help you.