The statistics published by the Ministry of Justice recently show the extent of the impact of the Government’s legal aid cuts and they were reported in the Independent on the last day of October. The highly controversial cuts removed assistance for almost all social welfare cases, including benefits, employment, housing (except homelessness), immigration (except asylum) and family (except in cases of domestic violence).
The article reports dramatic statistics such as a £1bn worth of cuts (99.5%) in welfare cases down from 83,000 claimants in 2012/13 to just 440 cases in the last financial year. A 74% drop in the number of people receiving legal aid for family and civil cases from 575,000 to 145,000. For the same period we have seen a 57% drop in the number of successful legal aid claims in prison law cases – from 41,000 to 18,000.
Ministers haven’t announced their own analysis but have announced there will be a review. Dominic Raab, the Justice Minister has said he will be writing to interested parties shortly to seek views on the reforms.
The Bach Commission’s final report on ‘Access To Justice’ (published 22-9-17) represents the view that the legal aid cuts of recent years have significantly eroded access to justice and proposes a ‘Right to Justice Act’ to get things back on track. From the profession’s point of view all of this means legal aid is firmly back on the political agenda.
From a software perspective, all this turmoil, means firms with legal aid contracts need to be more efficient than ever to ensure they are geared up to provide the very best service possible to their legal aid clients in these times of great uncertainty. LAWFUSION’s extensive legal aid functionality offers many benefits for law firms, developed over many years by working closely with the Legal Aid Agency (and formerly the Legal Services Commission) and more importantly with some of most highly regarded legal aid firms in the profession. The software is designed to enable firms to handle larger legal aid case loads more profitably.
For further information LAWFUSION’s legal aid modules please call us today on 01482 567601 or via our online enquiry form.