The Law Society is campaigning for legal aid to be re-introduced for early legal advice, particularly in family and housing law.
Everyone knows that if you catch a problem early, you're more likely to stop it getting worse. The same is true for legal problems - most of the time, these are easier, and cheaper, to address early on.
Unfortunately, most areas of free or subsidised early legal advice were stopped by the government in 2012. This has meant that people who can't afford to pay for early legal advice are now left to address their problems alone – meaning that simple problems can get worse, and can create other unnecessary costs for the taxpayer.
Research conducted for the Law Society by Ipsos MORI shows a clear statistical link between getting early legal advice and resolving a problem sooner. Read the full research report here (PDF 418kb).
In February the Ministry of Justice published their long-awaited post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). In the review, the Ministry of Justice recognised our call for the restoration of legal aid for early advice in housing and family law.
The government has now committed to a new pilot to assess how effective early legal advice can be in housing. We are hopeful that this will help to prove that legal aid for early advice helps resolve problems sooner and can save the government money in the long run.
On 27 February 2018, we held a drop-in event in parliament to update MPs about our campaign. The campaign was well received and over 20 MPs took part in a photo opportunity to show their support for the campaign.
View the photos from the event on our Flickr page.
Show your support and share a photo on Twitter holding our campaign sign. Don't forget to use the #earlyadvice hashtag.
Download your early advice campaign poster here to share on Twitter.