LEGAL HOTLINES REJECTED
15 Mar, 2012
A bid to save money on legal fees has been rejected amid claims it will exclude the vulnerable from ‘meaningful legal advice’.
The proposed move looked to impose mandatory telephone services for legal advice, and was rejected by peers in the House of Lords. This is the ninth defeat for the government’s Legal Aid Bill which is aiming to cut legal costs to the tax payer.
The move was rejected under claims that it that it would leave people with disabilities such as speech impediments or hearing difficulties at a disadvantage when tying to access legal advice, and that it wouldn’t actually save that much money in the long run with people eventually needing face to face meetings with a lawyer anyway.
The telephone lines were to be manned by operators who would be given some training, but none of that training would be legal.
Applauding the rejection of the move, the former Paralympic athlete, Lady Grey-Thompson, said that the plans would save only around £1m to £2m per year, adding: “The government savings from this are negligible. It risks excluding vulnerable people from meaningful legal advice.”