Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Legal aid 'reforms'

Yesterday, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced a series of reforms to legal aid that will effectively cut off millions of people access to the courts.

From the BBC:
Legal aid will be cut for a wide range of civil cases, including:

Divorce, welfare benefits and school exclusion appeals
Immigration where the person is not detained
Clinical negligence and personal injury

So if you're poor you will not be able to afford to get divorced, you won't be able to sue if your hospital or doctor messes up a medical procedure, you won't be able to appeal if the DWP decides you're not disabled enough and you have no recourse if your employer decides to sack you unfairly.

How is this fair? How is this democracy?

The government hopes its proposals will significantly change the public's attitude to dispute resolution and encourage more people to solve their legal disagreements without recourse to either a lawyer or the courts.

Yes, because this is likely to happen. Their idea of what is necessary or not is beyond skewed. How are the warring couple going to solve their 'disagreements' without a court?
How is the person left in chronic pain because of clinical negligence supposed to resolve things with the hospital without a solicitor?
How is the disabled person supposed to appeal against a wrong ATOS assessment if they have no way to pay for it?

This is one of the most insidious cuts yet. The ConDems really do seem determined to take us back to the 1800's.

Justice and rights? Of course - but only if you afford them.


No comments:

Post a Comment