COMMITTEE STAGE: LEGAL AID BILL
12 Jul, 2011
BAR CHAIRMAN TELLS MPs TO PROTECT ACCESS TO JUSTICE AS CONTROVERSIAL LEGAL AID BILL REACHES COMMITTEE STAGE
Peter Lodder QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has called for MPs to protect access to justice ahead of his appearance before the Public Bill Committee this afternoon.
The controversial Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill enters its first day of Committee Stage today (July 12), which will see Committee members hear evidence from a range of interested parties.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s evidence session, Peter Lodder QC, said:
“On behalf of the Bar Council, I intend to impress upon the Bill Committee the dangers of the Government’s proposed legal aid reforms. Many provisions of the Bill go much too far. We are very concerned that children, vulnerable people and hardworking families will be denied access to justice, as whole areas of law are withdrawn from legal aid.
“While sentencing reforms have dominated the headlines, it is vital that the public understands that legal aid, the insurance policy which we all pay for through our taxes, is being arbitrarily removed from scope in many areas. The Government is settling for cut-price justice. If the proposed changes are implemented, we will all be worse off.
“We have provided detailed briefing materials to Committee members, explaining some of the deficiencies which the Bar will be lobbying hard to address. The Bar Council will continue to make the case at every stage of the Bill’s progress through Parliament.”