The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – inevitably now being shortened to LASPO – entered its committee stage this week. Evidence sessions on legal aid this week include:
- Law Society, Bar Council, Leigh Day, Family Mediation Council and the LSC
- Rights of Women and the Womens Institute
- Shelter, Citizens Advice, Advice Service Alliance, Law Centres Federation, Justice, Legal Action Group, Liberty, NSPCC, Children’s Commissioner, Children’s Society, Action against Medical Accidents
There is a clear consensus from the witnesses that the proposals in the Bill are likely to exclude many vulnerable people from justice. Hopefully the committee will hear the many points being made. Evidence published to date can be found here; the committee are accepting evidence until October.
Elsewhere, the main news of the week has been the collapse of the Immigration Advisory Service. As we reported on Thursday, the LSC are inviting other immigration providers to bid for IAS work. Jon Robins in the Guardian has more on the background.
But if you only read one thing this week, make it this brilliant piece by Nick Armstrong, guesting on Richard Moorhead’s Lawyer Watch blog and pointing out just who will suffer when immigration is removed from legal aid. Impassioned, furious, but detailed and utterly right, it demonstrates exactly how unjust and short-sighted is what is proposed. Also well worth reading is this piece from Nearly Legal, pointing out that the proposed removal of legal aid from squatters disguises a much more significant impact on Gypsies and travellers. Two very different but compelling examples of how legal aid cuts impact the most vulnerable.