Legal aid deserts
Legal aid deserts mean that people on low incomes facing important legal issues are struggling to get the local face-to-face advice they're legally entitled to.
In March 2023, we updated our five heat maps showing the shortage of providers across the country for:
- community care – 11.6% drop in providers since April 2022
- education – 10% drop in providers since April 2022
- housing – 25.3m people (42%) do not have access to a local provider
- immigration and asylum – 39m people (66%) do not have access to a local provider
- welfare – 21% drop in providers since April 2022
The maps were first published in September 2021, following on from our maps in 2020 and 2019 showing shortages in community care and housing law.
We also published a review on the sustainability of the civil legal aid system.
Following a campaign by the Law Society, the government has announced the launch of a long-overdue review into the sustainability of civil legal aid contracts, running from March 2023 to late 2024.
We’re calling on the government to invest immediately in civil legal aid so people can get legal help for life-changing issues while the review takes place.
We've also started our own research project to explore solutions and lead the debate on how to make our justice system fit for the future.
If you’re a legal professional, we’d like you to share examples of the damage that legal aid deserts have caused in your local area.