Civil legal aid review: government launches call for evidence

The UK government has today (10 January) launched its call for evidence to inform its civil legal aid review.

Law Society of England and Wales president Nick Emmerson said: “We welcome the government’s call for evidence and we will be responding in due course.

“To form part of our response, the Law Society is facilitating the Ministry of Justice’s roundtables throughout the UK, so our members can feed directly into the government officials undertaking the review.

“A well-functioning civil justice system is vital to the economic health and social wellbeing of our country. Legal aid is an essential part of this. We have a justice system that has long been the envy of the world, but without investment, it will continue to fall apart.

“Providers of civil legal aid continue to close their doors as it is no longer economically viable.”

Statistics* show almost a third (30%) of housing and debt legal aid providers have closed down since 2018/19, at a time of spiralling housing costs and a cost of living crisis.

Over the same time period, almost half (47.9%) of welfare benefit legal aid provider offices have also closed down.

Nick Emmerson concluded: “The people who are affected most by this are families facing eviction, victims of abuse seeking the protection they need or a vulnerable person denied access to the care they’re entitled to.

“We urge the government to use this call for evidence to make meaningful change by investing in civil legal aid by ensuring there is a future for this vital public service.”

Notes to editors

Read the government’s call for evidence in full

The call for evidence closes on 21 February 2024.

* Statistics taken from the call for evidence: annex C, page 18

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