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Government proposals to change legal aid will limit access to justice
Members of the Universitys Kent Law School have issued a warning that changes to legal aid proposed by the government could severely limit access to justice for vast numbers of people. Commenting as one of a number of members of Kent Law School who responded to the Transforming Legal Aid consultation paper, Lucy Welsh said:
The proposals significantly undermine the right to representation for vast numbers of people facing the power of state led - and funded - prosecutions. The damage that could result from these proposals, which appear to be based on either flawed or non-existent evidence, could be extremely far reaching. The plans place the entirety of the criminal justice system at risk of losing all credibility at best, and of collapsing completely at worst.
Our response sets out our concerns about the ability of vulnerable people to challenge the state and raise important legal arguments in numerous circumstances. We are particularly concerned about the draconian proposals in relation to criminal defence services, which have the capacity to undermine a defendants ability to play an effective role in the proceedings and reduce the need for quality in service provision.
Lucy Welsh is a PhD student and teaching assistant at Kent Law School and a practicing criminal lawyer.
Story published at 1:49pm 7 June 2013
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