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Commons Justice Committee launches future of legal aid inquiry

Date:23 SEP 2020
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The Justice Committee launches an inquiry into the future of legal aid, in light of concerns raised during the coronavirus pandemic about pressures on the system.

Legal aid assistance

The Committee has heard about difficulty getting legal aid assistance in some parts of the country, and from lawyers about the financial problems raised by current fees and reduced work.

Legislative changes

The legal aid system in England and Wales was fundamentally changed by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Since then there have been a number of legislative changes and post-legislative reviews of LASPO.

The Justice Committee examined the changes to civil legal aid in 2014 and the changes to criminal legal aid in 2018.

Future of legal aid

This inquiry aims to look ahead to the future of legal aid, to identify the major challenges facing clients and providers and how they might be tackled.

The inquiry is especially keen to hear about the sustainability of the legal aid market, the impact of Covid-19 and the increasing reliance on digital technology to deliver legal advice and court services.

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Submissions should be made by 5pm on Monday 19 October via the website, including on these terms of reference:

  • How LASPO has affected access to justice views on the post-implementation review and the criminal legal aid review;
  • The role of the Legal Aid Agency;
  • Recruitment and retention problems among legal aid professionals;
  • The impact of the court reform programme and the increasing use of technology on legal aid services and clients;
  • The impact of Covid-19 on legal aid services and clients; and
  • What the challenges are for legal aid over the next decade, what reforms are needed and what can be learnt from elsewhere.
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