Labour launch immediate review into legal aid reforms

Scales of Justice British

Labour have launched a new review into the effects of the Government’s legal aid cuts, to be led by former Shadow Attorney General Lord Willy Bach. The review was announced by Shadow Justice Secretary Lord Falconer today, who revealed that Lord Bach would be working with fellow Shadow Justice Minister Karl Turner in conducting the review.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he had asked Bach to carry out the review, and described the Government’s 2012 reforms to legal aid as “disastrous”. “This has resulted in many of our fellow citizens, often the poor and marginalised not being able to get advice or representation when they are faced with legal problems such as housing, welfare benefits, debt and employment,” Corbyn said. “Many vital advice services, including Law Centres, have had to close.”

Willy Bach said he was “delighted” to be asked to lead the review, which will start immediately, and highlighted the importance of fair legal representation to upholding the law:

“Access to legal help and representation is a cornerstone of the rule of law and the mark of a decent society but the Government’s reforms have left too many people unable to enforce their rights.”

Charlie Falconer said that more needs to be done to draw attention to the “disproportionate impact” the reforms have had on the ability of the poorest and most vulnerable to receive fair representation. Turner, who worked as a criminal lawyer prior to his election in 2010, said that he wanted to “take the fight to the Tories and make sure that access to justice is made available to all, not just the well off.”

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