• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Governments consultation paper on the reform of Legal Aid set out some clear aims. Examine and assess two elements of the changes proposed by the Government

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Government?s consultation paper on the reform of Legal Aid set out some clear aims. Examine and assess two elements of the changes proposed by the Government: one in relation to which you consider there is a strong case to be made that the change will achieve one of more of those aims while doing little harm to access to justice, and one where the case is weak. Clause 40 of the Magna Carta states: ?To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice?. It is in that spirit since 1949, that access to legal aid has been offered to the British population. Over the years, the modern legal aid scheme has passed through many changes to be able serve as much as possible and in the best conceivable way, free access to justice. However, in these years of economic instability, important reforms of the system are necessary to provide a sustainable service to the population. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has released a consultation paper containing the proposals for the reform of legal aid in England and Wales. The content of this consultation paper is very diverse, and therefore has got several objectives. Kenneth Clarke, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has stated in the ministerial foreword the different objectives aimed by this consultation paper in order to reform the system. One of the aims is to discourage people from consulting lawyers and encourage them to consider alternative methods of dispute resolution. ...read more.

Middle

However some points need to be clarified concerning the establishment of this new structure. Albeit they have stated that they agreed with the proposals for reform, the Royal College of Psychiatrists also specified in their response that the consultation paper does not provide enough information and that the draft of ?the reasoning that supports the proposed categorisation is not provided?. Moreover, the Law Centre affirmed in their response that they agree with the need for regulation but they ?do not wish to see a situation where, in appropriate cases, a legally aided client should not be able to instruct the same experts as paying clients?[2]. This therefore shows that this consultation paper is not entirely accepted by everyone. Undeniably, there are some areas of this consultation paper which have been very criticised and rejected by many respondents. One of these areas of reforms concerned the establishment of a system to provide advice and information services by telephone to legal aid seekers. 1. Proposal to establish a single mandatory telephone helpline Inspired from the Community Legal Advice (CLA) helpline, the telephone service proposed by the Government would be the only access to civil legal aid services. This means that legal aid seekers would have to contact this helpline, and the operator will examine the client?s problem and see if that person is eligible for receiving legal aid. After this step, the operator will discuss the different available options and guide them to the appropriate service including legal aid specialists, a paid for service, or alternative sources of help. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such a system would, over time, become a liability as it would amount to unnecessary additional expenditure. As an illustration, many respondents used the scenario where a client who was at first stage advised by an operator, would have afterwards to consult a face-to-face provider to solve his issues. This clearly shows that the telephone helpline would be economically ineffective on a long term basis. The consultation paper published by the Ministry of Justice in 2009 is very mixt. There are numerous elements which have for objective to promote access to justice but also limit expenditures to have a sustainable service. One of the elements appreciated by many respondents in this consultation is the proposal to put in place a new set of expert fees which would allow limiting costs, without putting access to justice in danger. However there are many elements such as the establishment of a telephone helpline which were disapproved by respondents. The Government has decided to launch this system in four areas of the law while taking some exceptions into account when the case is an emergency or the client is either a child or in detention. Overall, this consultation paper was much criticised and only a few elements which were already present in the system were approved. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice has consecrated an annex in the consultation response towards the alternatives proposed by a few respondents. In its response, the minister has stated that ?these legal aid changes constitute a substantial set of very bold reforms, the overall effect of which should be to achieve significant savings whilst protecting fundamental rights of access to justice?. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree English Legal System section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree English Legal System essays

  1. In what senses is devolution asymmetric? Is this sustainable and - if not - ...

    There are proposals as to ways which this imbalance could be reconciled yet these seem, on the whole, to be ineffective. The first of these is to form an English Parliament and whilst this would pacify the criticisms relating to the imbalance and establish England's position in the UK, it

  2. Adversarial and Inqusitorial legal systems

    Again like adversary system the confidence of the parties to case is not shaken they will know that they are in safe hands even if some how their lawyer are lacking behind to court fix that imbalance.

  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution.

    In that context, some forms of ADR are mandated by statute to avoid overloading the court system (Corley, et al, 2001, pp. 69-70). Typically this amounts to mandated binding arbitration as a preliminary step that must be taken prior to entering formal litigation.

  2. Can Arbitration be combined with other forms of dispute resolution?

    However, Hooper Baillie Associated v Natcon Group Pty [1993] A.C. 334 the Supreme Court of New South Wales stayed arbitral proceeding until the parties had submitted to contracted for conciliation. In Scotland there is no authority on this matter though in England the courts are taking a more liberal view.

  1. It should be up to the government whether or not to allow terrorists to ...

    However, there is no exact science on how to best deal with such events and the government are also liable in making errors in judgment. Furthermore, events such as 9/11 causes a lot more pressure from the public on the government to act with the possible consequence of rushed action

  2. What reforms, if any, are necessary to the legal aid system

    Legal Aid has two main functions which are firstly "providing protection and representation to those accused of a criminal act, underpinning the guarantee of a fair trial," and secondly "actively contributing to the Government's social welfare agenda."4 These functions are key to a fair justice system and in theory legal aid does encompass them.

  1. The question of whether contingency fees should be introduced into Australia is a valid ...

    somewhat dated, they cannot be underestimated as they show that clearly civil matters take a back seat to more pertinent matters such as criminal and family cases. Thus those who apply for Legal Aid in regards to civil matters are not as likely to be approved as other matters - leaving the lower classes out of civil action.

  2. Referring to examples of their work, assess the influence of the Law Commission and ...

    The codification of criminal law has still not been achieved. Even thought the Draft Criminal Code was published in 1985, no parliamentary time was given to it. For example the Offence Against the Persons Act 1861 is used in 10,00 prosecution cases yet lawyers still argue over the interpretation.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work