Don Foster MP*

Don backs motion on legal aid

Don is among 121 MPs who have warned that the Governmentís plans to reform the legal aid system could leave vulnerable clients without access to justice.

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Don added his name to a parliamentary motion which raises concern that the proposals could force several hundred law firms out of business, reducing the level of advice services available in many areas.

The Government has announced plans to introduce competitive price tendering and fixed fee pricing in the legal aid sector on the back of a review carried out last year.  The motion forms part of the Law Society's What Price Justice? campaign to boost awareness of the threat the measures pose to legal aid users.

Commenting, Don said:

"I am increasingly concerned that the reforms that have been proposed by the Government could prove damaging for many Bath residents.  What particularly worries me is that so often it is vulnerable people that rely most heavily upon the service, and so could be most at risk of losing access to quality legal advice, at times when it could make a real difference in their lives, such as over housing and family issues.

"The Law Society's report on legal aid shows that Bath has significant levels of deprivation, evidenced by the very high demand for Debt, Welfare Benefits, Immigration and Employment services. What provision there is in Bath is mostly at general level and is not sufficient to meet current need.

"Legal aid is a vital part of our justice system and is clearly in need of reform, but it is apparent that the current plans will only serve to worsen existing problems, rather than solve them. I have signed this motion to call on the Government to guarantee a legal aid system that ensures quality representation and fair access to justice for all."

Desmond Hudson, Law Society Chief Executive, added:

"I welcome Don's support for this motion. The level of backing from MPs across all parties highlights the extent of concern about the risks being taken on legal aid and access to justice."

"These proposals are being rushed through without the detailed consideration that they need bearing in mind the risks they pose to access to justice.  It is in the interests of society that the Government finds the money to fund the legal aid system.  Theoretical eligibility for legal aid is meaningless if there are no lawyers to represent the most vulnerable in society."


This article published: 01/02/2024

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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