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Concerns expressed over legal aid reforms

The Justice Select Committee has published a report expressing concerns over the Government's reform proposals for legal aid in England and Wales, with particular reference to the possible impact on family law cases.

 

The Committee acknowledges that the English and Welsh legal aid system is in need of reform. However, it is concerned that the proposal to severely restrict the number of family law cases that will qualify for legal aid, unless they involve allegations of domestic violence, will be counter-productive, and may even lead to people making false accusations of domestic violence in order to qualify for legal aid.

 

Chair of the Justice Select Committee, Sir Alan Beith MP, said:

"There is a cross-party consensus on the need to reduce the cost of the legal aid budget, which is one of the most expensive in the world. Concerns remain, however, that there is the potential for vulnerable groups of people to be disproportionately hit by the changes. The Government’s proposals need considerable further refinement before moving forward, and alternative ways of achieving savings should be examined."

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