Tuesday, 12 April 2011
What has Legal Aid Ever Done To U Lord Jackson?
By now it is clear what the government intend to do with the cuts to legal aid. Does the sum 350 million ring a bell? Yes, the government aim to cut legal aid by 350 million pounds every year. This is due to our very own Lord Justice Jackson's idea to reform the area of access to justice.
As a consequence of his reforms successful claimants will have to pay solictors out of their winnings. This is ridiculous!!!! This will hardly leave them with any money anyway which will mean people will only go to court if they know they will win rather than simply because they want justice and this is unfair. Numerous important landmark cases were seen due to the fact that they were to provide justice for others not just for monetary reasons. These cuts are going to change the law as we know as they only intend to increase claims in employer liabilty ans personal injury because there is money involved.
Additionally, it will also result in lawyers losing money as their fees will be capped by 25% in P.I cases. They also intend to make mediation settlements enforceable by courts. However, surely, does this not eradicate the whole point of mediation? The whole of mediation is so the parties can settle outside of court, so why would it be enfoceable by them?
The reforms have lead to many MPs calling for their peers to rethink the legal aid cuts with the assumption that there must be other ways to make the deficit back. Suggestions include that the government should look into whether pension and workers should be subject to "poluter pays" for the poor decision making which leads to winning appeals.
Another proposal was that family law should be looked into more closely. The fact that there will be funding for domestic violence cases could lead to an increase of domestic violence cases and false accusations. The Law Gazette also stated that the domestic violence should be edited to include "non physical violence" as well.
So will the cuts end free legal as we know it? The House of Commons Justice Committee do not think it will be, instead they believe it will lead to a "significant under supply" of legal aid providers.
Acceptable?...Why should we pay taxes that the govenrnment increase whenever they feel like whilst still being subjected to pay for a legal voice to defend ourselves anyway? Come October, this will be cry of many citizens in the country but by that time it will too late. It's a shame people are not focusing on this issue now rather than the cuts to jobs. I understand that jobs are important, but cuts to legal aid could lead to an advice drought which will leave only the wealthy to be able to defend themselves and get away with committing injustices to people. I don't know about anyone else but this is not a world I am prepared for.