Garden Court Chambers has grave concerns about the changes to publicly funded recently introduced by the Legal Services Commission. We have anxiously followed the events over the last few weeks and offered support to our solicitors when we have been able to do so. We are particularly concerned that many hardworking, dedicated solicitors who have dedicated their professional lives to helping some of the most disadvantaged individuals in society are being treated in what can only be described as a high-handed manner. We are even more concerned, in solidarity with our solicitor colleagues, at the fact that a large number of individuals will be denied access to high quality legal advice. This can only exacerbate the difficulties faced by those individuals, many of whom are already extremely vulnerable, and exact a greater social and financial cost on society as a whole.
Along with numerous judges, parliamentarians and members of the public, we would urge the LSC and the government to reconsider its plans. Unfortunately, whilst the government seems determined to press ahead with a marketisation of legal services, it fails to understand that a properly funded national system of legal aid requires careful investment and nurturing. It is not possible to have justice on the cheap, nor does it assist the community in the long term. At Garden Court, we remain committed to publicly funded work, as we have been for over 30 years, and we look forward to working with our other colleagues in the field to persuade the government to see sense.