"This is where the major parties stand on the cuts to legal aid" Yellow Lawyer
GREENS - YES
“"The Green Party strongly opposes cuts to legal aid and is committed to reversing all cuts made by the current government. The Green Party also takes very seriously the increases in civil court fees and in considering justice as a public service, would reduce those fees to a level appropriate to provide universal access to justice.
The Green Party plans to fund access to justice through our progressive taxation proposals, including the Robin Hood tax (financial transactions tax), wealth tax, and through properly addressing tax avoidance and evasion. The Green Party aims to release their fully-costed manifesto around the end of March, which will provide precise figures."
Charley Pattison, Green Party Justice Spokeswoman
LABOUR - YES-ish
“Labour warned at the time of the cuts that they’d have an enormous impact on access to justice, particularly hitting many vulnerable people, the disabled, the homeless and victims of domestic abuse. The Government ignored our warnings, and the warnings of experts, charities and practitioners. All of the evidence suggests that civil legal aid actually saves money down the line – it stops small problems turning into big ones, and it relieves pressure on other parts of the state, such as local government, social services and health. That’s why it was a false economy.
“If we win in May, Labour won’t be prepared to just put up with what we inherit. We will want to repair the damage done to access to justice. We won’t pursue the two tier contract for criminal legal aid this Government is pushing, and we will review the second criminal fee cut. Instead we will sit down with the profession and experts to find a better way forward.
“On civil legal aid, I am looking at what we can do in some specific areas. In particular, the priority for attention is domestic violence where people trapped in abusive relationships are struggling to break free because of lack of legal aid. We are also concerned about the damage to social welfare legal advice. We are looking at what we can do to help the most vulnerable in our society suffering the most due to this government’s cuts.
“On judicial review changes, I have committed Labour to reverse this Government’s assault on the ability of people to hold those in power to account.
“Labour will also defend the Human Rights Act and extend Freedom of Information which have proved so useful in holding power to account.”
Sadiq Khan via Nick Bowes, Parliamentary Assistant to Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - MAYBE
“In terms of the position of the Liberal Democrats at the next election (in terms of the manifesto), we will commit to reviewing the impact of recent changes to legal aid on access to justice within the first year after the election.”
Phil Taylor, Political Adviser to Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP
UKIP - MAYBE
"Recent changes to the Legal Aid system are penalising precisely those individuals for whom the concept was designed. UKIP will seek to simplify the regulations and procedures for applying and claiming legal aid. Eligibility and payment responsibility will be updated to ensure legal aid is allocated to those most in need. "
John Gill, Press Officer, UKIP HQ
CONSERVATIVES - NO
“The Conservative Party hasn’t announced any policies in this area, and it’s worth waiting for our manifesto. In the meantime it’s best to speak to the MoJ about what schedule to reductions is in place.”
Tim Smith, Press Officer, CCHQ