Legal Aid cuts

An attack on justice for ordinary people

Sheffield Law Centre and other advice agencies in Sheffield are taking part in the Week of Action called by the Access to Justice Alliance, with a demonstration on Monday 21 May 2007 outside the Combined Court Centre at West Bar from 9.30am. Other demonstrations are taking place this week in London and Manchester.

“Legal Aid is one of the cornerstones of a fair and decent society,” said Chris Cole, chair of Sheffield Law Centre.

“It ensures that ordinary people on low incomes can have access to free and independent legal advice. The government’s reforms of legal aid mean that people will increasingly be denied access to justice.

The people likely to suffer the most from the reforms are the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society. These are people with mental health issues, with disabilities, people facing eviction or fleeing domestic violence.”

The government’s new system of fixed fees does not recognise the amount of work required in each case – it is based on averages and doesn’t take individual needs into account. It threatens the quality of our work and the service we can provide to our clients.

Law Centres have always lived on the margins because of financial pressure and precarious funding arrangements. These changes make the situation potentially fatal. In Sheffield many solicitors have already given up legal aid contracts and will only work for fee-paying clients.

The parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs said, “We believe that the government has introduced these plans too quickly, in too rigid a way and with insufficient evidence.”

The Law Centre supports the Select Committee and calls on the government to ensure stable funding for the future of the legal aid scheme and to rethink the changes due to come into force in October 2007.


at Sheffield Law Centre on 0114 273 1501.

Sheffield Law Centre is at 10 Joiner Street (off The Wicker), Sheffield S3 8GW. It is a charity and provides specialist legal advice in social welfare law, giving free and independent legal advice in employment, housing, immigration and disability rights. There are 60 law centres altogether in the UK supported by the Law Centres Federation.

Demonstration against Legal Aid cuts
9:30am to 11:30am Monday 21 May 2007

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The content on this page was added to the website by Jamie Marriott on 2007-05-15 16:05:21.
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