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The review on Legal Aid has restarted following a pause induced by the impact of COVID-19. Justice Minister, Alex Chalk, informed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid that the review has re-commenced with a plan to publish findings in Spring 2021.
The department is set to consider the sustainability of the civil legal aid system, including fees, the availability of early legal support and advice, as well as how administrative burdens can be reduced.
However, Head of Justice at the Law Society, Richard Miller, has warned of a ‘sectoral collapse’. Miller addressed the principal problems that need to be considered, being the cash flow implications of COVID-19, loss of income, the underlying crisis of sustainability as well as the need for legal aid rates to be increased in line with inflation.
One of the plans is to change the means test threshold to enable more people to qualify for legal aid, receive advice and representation.
Miller also discussed the issue of the Court backlog, which was simply exacerbated by COVID-19, highlighting the importance of ‘providing early advice in all litigation matters’ and how this will ‘take some cases away from the courts’.
In light of these delays, ten ‘Nightingale Courts’ are to be launched, and Chalk revealed that there would be a ‘ramping up’ of these throughout August, September and October. These Courts are set to hear non-custodial crime cases, tribunals, family and civil matters in order to ensure “the wheels of justice keep turning”.
Here at Ramsdens Solicitors, our Abuse team are able to offer legal aid to help those seek justice for maltreatment they have suffered. For those who do not satisfy the current criteria for legal aid, we strive to eradicate the disparity of legal aid eligibility by offering our clients alternative methods of funding.
Our team are experienced in advising clients of their legal options and to seek justice for their maltreatment. If any issues within this article have affected you or a loved one please contact the abuse team on 0113 887 1834 for a chat in total confidence.