This is the Law Society’s submission to the Ministry of Justice’s Post-Implementation Review of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO).
We provided extensive commentary and argument about the impact of the cuts and what should be done to address the problems they have caused in our report published in 2017, 'Access Denied? LASPO four years on: a Law Society review'.
As well as highlighting a number of existing reports we have published three new pieces of research. The first is a report from BVA-BDRC on a series of focus groups conducted around the country to get up to date evidence of the impact the legal aid cuts are having.
The second piece is a further report from Professor Donald Hirsch, analysing the criminal legal aid means test and the impact it has in relation to the Minimum Income Standard.
The third report, by Dr Lisa Whitehouse, considers the affordability of legal proceedings for those who are financially excluded from legal aid because of the value of their homes.
In the course of the stakeholder engagement meetings, the MoJ has invited comment on the extent to which non-lawyers may be able to provide some of the support and services clients need.
In Section 5 of this document, we set out our views as to the value and importance of having qualified and regulated lawyers available to provide advice and representation.