The manifesto highlights – in LAPG’s words – ‘those areas where changes to legal aid – particularly those brought in under the LASPO – have had a seriously adverse impact on those who most need legal advice and representation, such as children, disabled people and victims of domestic violence’.
The idea behind the document is to highlight the ‘small changes could make all the difference to people in need’ for the next government. It proposes ‘a series of changes to legal aid provision and delivery which would alleviate the worst of the effects on the most vulnerable groups – changes which could be implemented swiftly by the next Government and at little significant cost to the public purse’.
‘The changes to legal aid have resulted in unforeseen inequality and injustice. Vulnerable groups have been particularly hard hit, with many now unable to obtain even the most basic legal advice about their rights, let alone representation. Without legal aid, there is no justice for those unable to pay. In family law, for example, almost all private cases have now been removed from the scope of legal aid with victims of serious domestic abuse now having to navigate extensive bureaucratic hurdles to get even basic advice about children and finances.’
Nicola Mackintosh QC and Jenny Beck, co-chairs of LAPG
The manifesto proposals were ‘not excessively ambitious’, said Nicola Mackintosh QC and Jenny Beck, co-chairs of LAPG. ‘They are constructive, pragmatic and realistic. Our aim was to look at what could be achievable in the short to medium term of a new Parliament. Many of the proposals could be achieved at little or no extra cost to the Exchequer yet be of enormous importance to vulnerable people.’