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/ 12 Mar 2013

The Demise of Legal Aid

Hanne & Co joins with other lawyers and professionals to condemn the passing of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) which removes the availability of Legal Aid in many areas of law from the beginning of April this year.

Hanne & Co have been at the forefront of Legal Aid provision since the inception of Legal Aid and have in recent years specialised in Family, Crime and Housing Law, acting for low income and impoverished families in Battersea and the surrounding areas alongside our successful private practice.

In just 17 days time for many of the less fortunate in our society including the disabled, ethnic minorities, the old and infirm there will be no access to Justice in many areas of the law, up until now an accepted human right.

The Act will come into force with little publicity and the first many of those affected will know about it is when they call for help, to be told that Legal Aid is no longer available.

For those on benefit or a low income, unless there is proven domestic violence ( a doctors letter or a court order, for example) there will be no more legal aid for divorce, separation, children’s cases (except care proceedings) and financial applications; no more legal aid for a multitude of housing issues, employment, immigration and welfare benefit appeals.

The implications are staggering. There is no doubt that some people will take matters into their own hands and that it will take a well publicised tragedy to raise public awareness. There will be no more equality of arms at court – and the court system itself will be clogged up with cases that should have been easily resolved at an early stage in the right hands. This backwards move, coming as it is alongside the benefit cuts, can only provide further dismay and demoralisation to a section of our society that is already struggling to survive.

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