New Lord Chancellor must act now to restore Legal Aid

July 30, 2019 11:59 AM

"Match his warm words about Legal Aid with action" demands Liberal Democrats Justice Spokesperson Jonathan Marks QC , responding to the swearing-in speech of the new Tory Lord Chancellor today.

In his speech, the Lord Chancellor said: "I remain firmly of the belief that as far as possible the right support must be provided for those who need it, particularly where actions of the state directly affect the liberty, livelihood or welfare of the individual."

Jonathan Marks QC said: "The new Lord Chancellor must match his warm words about Legal Aid with action.

"He should start be restoring Legal Aid for welfare, debt, employment, immigration, housing and family law cases.

"The Government has cut the Legal Aid budget by £945 million a year, more than twice the £450 million it expected when the reforms were passed in 2012. And these cuts have hit vulnerable people the hardest.

"Far too many people are unable to access legal advice or to afford a lawyer to represent them in court - even in cases that have profound effects on their lives.

"The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will reverse the £500 million of extra cuts to Legal Aid, to ensure that everyone has access to the legal advice and representation they need to defend their fundamental rights."