Report on the affordability of legal proceedings for those excluded from eligibility for criminal legal aid
This report was commissioned by the Law Society for inclusion in the Society's submission to the Ministry of Justice's review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).
The report was conducted by Donald Hirsch, professor of Social Policy and director for the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.
It considers whether people defending criminal proceedings in Magistrates' Courts and the Crown Court who are required by the criminal legal aid system to contribute to or pay fully for legal costs, based on their income, can always afford to do so while maintaining a minimum acceptable living standard.
The report's central finding is that the means testing of legal aid is set at a level that can require people on low incomes to make contributions to legal costs that they could not afford while maintaining a socially acceptable standard of living.