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‘Access to justice should be treated as an essential public service—equal to healthcare or education,’ he said. ‘Early legal advice can help people sort out their problems and prevent them from having to rely on welfare support or involve the courts. This makes a real difference to them but also saves taxpayers money.Bourns referred to reports that tenants of Grenfell Tower were unable to access legal aid to challenge safety concerns about the building. If true, he said, ‘then we may have a very stark example of what limiting legal aid can mean’.
Failure to get early expert legal advice can result in problems escalating dramatically, when they could have been nipped in the bud. The cuts have led to many people facing court unrepresented, in cases where lawyers would have resolved the issues without involving the court, via mediation or negotiation.’