Our justice system is in crisis – Bach Commission report highlights effects of legal aid cuts

Friday 25 November 2016

The justice system is in crisis: a set of minimum standards to which all are entitled must be established, concludes interim report of Bach Commission on Access to Justice. Jo Cecil of Garden Court’s Crime and Public Law Teams is an Independent Commissioner on the Bach Commission.

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The report concludes that cuts to legal aid have created a two-tier justice system in which the poorest go without representation or advice. It argues that minimum standards which ensure access to justice is a reality for all should be developed and enshrined in public policy. The full report can be downloaded here.

The report is the product of a series of oral hearings and a public call for evidence which elicited responses from legal service users, providers, academics and many others.

Commenting on the report, Lord Bach, chair of the Bach Commission on Access to Justice, said:

“Our interim report shows that our justice system is creaking at the seams. The LASPO cuts have produced a crisis in the justice system and the poorest in our society can no longer receive the legal support they require.

This unacceptable state of affairs needs challenging and changing. This report is the starting point in our ongoing work to redesign the justice system so that it works for all. The Commission intends now to turn to working through the policy solutions to fix this crisis.”

The report has been covered in the press, including in the Guardian and The Independent.

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