Total Pageviews

Friday, 5 December 2014

Access to Justice - its all about the money, money, money

It's not about the money, money, money
We don't need your money, money, money
We just wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the price tag

This is the first time that Jessie J has made an appearance on this blog. Or any other legal blog for that matter! When it comes to putting a value of Access to Justice her words are sadly wide of the mark. It seems that it is in fact all about the money, money, money.

That was certainly the impression given by top MOJ Civil Servant Ursula Brennan, when she gave evidence before the Public Accounts committee this week.

She confirmed that her department was given a mandate to cut the Legal aid Budget at all costs and that they were given no time to carry out any research into the possible impact of the cuts, which virtually wiped legal aid for the most vulnerable.

It was clear from her responses that no thought was given to the likely consequences. The overwhelming brief was to save the money from the legal aid budget regardless of whether this might be a false economy. This is something that most campaigners have been saying for the last couple of years.

What about the cost to the Court system of a deluge of litigants in person?

What about the cost to other public bodies who have to pick up the pieces?

What about the issues of quality as legal aid lawyers are forced into a race to the bottom on fees?

As one MP asked - ‘How do you know there is not £100m of mental health costs flowing from these reforms?’

This emphasises again the contempt that the current government has for our once proud justice system. I have talked before about where their true values lie –

Barrister Harriet Johnson tweeted this week –
‘Grayling: This isn't ideological; I HAVE to cut £220m from #LegalAid. We've no money. Govt: Sod it; have £15bn for some new roads.’  
That says it all! Money is found for some things. It is all about priorities. Access to Justice is a very low priority for our politicians.

This is something that we must force onto the agenda over the next 5 months.





No comments:

Post a Comment