Tory legal aid cuts may have fatally undermined access to justice

legal Aid

Labour’s Sadiq Khan has admitted that he cannot find the cash to reverse the cuts to legal aid inflicted by Conservative Justice Secretary (and legal ignoramus) Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling.

Grayling has forced the legal aid budget down by £600 million, in the face of huge opposition from lawyers, making it much harder for people who don’t have huge amounts of money to defend themselves if accused of a crime. People who do have such funds – the abominably rich and career criminals – will, of course, be able to pay for their defence and escape justice.

In short, Grayling has ensured that criminals will go free while the innocent are jailed.

Sacked: Dominic Grieve's reservations about Legal Aid cuts put him at adds with the Coalition government; it seems his concern over a planned attack on human rights led to his sacking.

Sacked: Dominic Grieve’s reservations about Legal Aid cuts put him at adds with the Coalition government; it seems his concern over a planned attack on human rights led to his sacking.

He has also ensured that a future Labour government will not be able to undo the damage – at least, not immediately. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has said Labour could not reinstate the money cut from legal aid by Grayling, but he did say Labour intends to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain support from a lawyer.

“I speak to lawyers who say they have clients who come in to see them, say they have suffered abuse and are told they have to provide evidence,” he told The Guardian.

“The clients often leave the office and never return. That worries me. So I’m looking at what we can do to tackle this. If there was one legal aid change to reverse, this would be the one.”

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22 thoughts on “Tory legal aid cuts may have fatally undermined access to justice

  1. M de Mowbray

    Denying non-wealthy people access to legal advice is just part of the Tory’s New Feudalism programme, a new generation of Tax Avoiding Robber Barons, everyone else disposal servants to them. Homes being emptied and demolished to make way for luxury flats and offices, welfare cuts, sanctions, eugenics, bedroom tax, it’s all part of their plan.

  2. NMac

    In the years before legal aid I understand that there was “The Poor Prisoners’ Defence Act”. Under this provision, for people who could not afford to employ a good barrister, some of the most junior and often incompetent barristers were appointed to defend prisoners. This resulted in a lot of very serious miscarriages of justice where innocent people were convicted. That, I don’t suppose bothers loathsome and dishonest individuals like Grayling, who had no qualms about embezzling public money in expenses to which were described as sleazy.

  3. John Gaines

    Look, stating that you cannot afford to reinstate Justice, is just as ignorant as the Pig who messed it all up in the first inst….no excuses. just do it…..

    A hint in your shellike Khan, you are no ruddy use to us,,if you cannot walk on water and heave out with the Loaves and the Fishes….gottit!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There is a very obvious reason he can’t afford to do as you suggest. I’ll post it in my response to edmcarthur.

  4. edmcarthur

    What does he mean Labour cannot find the money to restore the cuts. The money was there the Tory-Dems decided to stop paying it out so unless they spent it on the mother of all booze ups it must be still there. Just Restore Legal Aid, it’s not bloody rocket science.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Nor is it “bloody rocket science” that the Conservatives have been very carefully restricting the amount of money coming into the Treasury over the last few years. Remember the tax cuts for corporations and the super-rich? Now you know why they were made. Did you see the news articles about lower-than-expected Income Tax returns? Now you know why the Tories have been keeping wages down and increasing benefit dependency among people who have jobs.
      The money that you mention has gone – it has been used on other things – Tory pet projects like HS2 or debt interest payments or whatever.
      Why on Earth did you think it would still be there?

      1. edmcarthur

        IF THE US NATO or EU want at some point to drag us into another war a Labour Government will find the money, no excuses there.
        Labour sit back and let the Tories or in this case the Tory -Dems do the dirty work make muffled protests and then say but we cant do anything about i,t but its not our fault so vote for us or you will get more stuff you cant do anything about. Well will they say also they cannot reverse all the outsourcing all the destruction of the NHS. Will they bring the Railways and the Mail back into public ownership No of course not , what they should do is cut the military to the bone get out of NATO and the EU scrap trident , scrap the Royal family get in the unpaid taxes there is a hell of lot they could do if they were not a pro Capitalist party

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        You are pretending that the issue is something other than it is. Why?
        Labour has promised to reverse what has happened to the NHS. Labour has promised to create a public railway operator, to bring services back under public control in a way that the privateers cannot protest. Your comments in these respects are ridiculous – as is your claim about international organisations dragging us into war – did Labour support the planned bombing of Syria? No.
        It is easy to sit back and bitch about a political party when it can’t do what you want, especially when you don’t have the information necessary to understand why these decisions have been made; it’s a lot less easy to have to make those decisions.
        Note also that there is a difference between Labour being unable to change these decisions back, and the Conservatives being keen to bring them in – for ideological reasons.

      3. Bill Kruse

        Tax cuts can be reversed. New taxes can be implemented. Money can be borrowed at extremely low rates at the moment and money spent on ensuring justice will save any amount further down the road. Quite apart from which, money is just something which can be made up. The Central Bank’s done it just recently with QE and the Treasury’s done it historically with Bradburys. If it’s put to constructive use, then there’s no inflation. When you’re a sovereign nation as we are, with control over the creation and issuance of its own currency, there simply is no such thing as being short of money. It really is beyond time people started to wise up about this.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        It isn’t as consequence-free as you are suggesting.
        Tax cuts can indeed be reversed, but it takes time to collect the resulting revenue – the same applies for new taxes. Borrowed money must be paid back – usually with interest. Inventing money from thin air has its own problems too.

      5. Florence

        It’s the effect of too much austerity. We are constantly being asked “if we can afford (this, that)”. The correct way is to decide what is to be provided, and then work out where the money is to be sought. I know it’s not simple, and there is a delay in the revenue stream from taxes, etc. But there are the vanity projects – Trident, HS2 among many – where the finance stream can be diverted. In the case of HS2 and the nuclear power stations “we” are actually funding, the streams have already been put in place, they need diverting. Ditto legislation to undo the PFI scandal. Perhaps the minimal amount needed to secure womens’ safety could be taken from the increased subsidies for landowners? Borrowing – government too – is at an historical low. I used to run massive projects, up to a billion£ – and so I know about the theory & practice of funding streams, break-even, and profit points. You ran an article recently about how Repugs in the USA had “discovered” it was cheaper to house than to put out on the street. That is a classic example of allowing smart decisions to over-ride political dogma

        And back to the mental straight-jacket of “austerity”, yes, we all need to give ourselves the 30 second brain test, hence – “do I really understand the concepts I am spouting and the words I am using to constrain our political future, or is it the result of non-stop propaganda”?

  5. Mr.Angry

    £117K to chauffeur Hog’s breath Pickles around for a year, that’s a start then there is pork face Cams facebook account £100K + don’t get me started. We won’t mention the MP’s bar costs.

  6. Thomas

    Justice should be for all, not just the richest 10%. Without legal aid, how will any cases make it to judicial review if Labour do get in?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That’s enough of that. The remainder of your comment was so filled with falsehoods that it had to go.
      You’ve got a lot of nerve, peddling that much hogwash around here.
      Now clear off.

  7. Chris Mckenzie

    Labour COULD and should develop a properly funded programme through progressive taxation on top 10 -1% earners, top council tax banding increases and a significant wealth tax… Add to that their already existing policy “promises” on tax evasion and collection and we could actually have a decent social democratic Labour party… unfortunately we won’t get this. Don’t get me wrong (some) in the Labour Party want a more left leaning Government to “reverse” some of the more horrendous Tory crimes but the modern Labour Party is too broad a church to allow for this programme to fund significant change. Of course we should vote for them in the short term but dear Mike, when they get in you really should be devoting your great intellect and time on supporting and building a genuine left opposition headed by Left Unity/ Greens, NHA Party and Peoples Assembly etc. Left Unity already have the broad policy platform needed, short term and long term strategy already developed, voted on by party members, (unlike the undemocratic Labour Party) who have a “front bench oligarchy” that make up policy in private meetings whilst eating quassants at the New Statesman office!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m not convinced by your final remarks.
      As for your call for me to support other parties of the Left, it seems to me that only Left Unity and the Peoples’ Assembly Against Austerity have declared themselves as left-wingers. The Greens need to provide a bit more evidence of their position and the NHA Party seems as much of a broad church as you claim Labour is (which is no bad thing, considering their raison d’etre is the harm that has been done to the National Health Service).

  8. jaypot2012

    Politicians make the laws and can change the laws so there is no “can’t” about it. There is money, we don’t need Trident, we don’t need the HS2, we don’t need a lot of “things” that are a waste of taxpayers money.
    Labour needs to start saying “We can” to get more and more votes, instead of saying “We can’t”.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Ever since the bankers blew all our cash, everyone in mainstream policies has been desperate to be realistic about what they can achieve, and Labour is no different.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Oh, it’s a broad assumption and there will be exceptions – open-and-shut cases and so on – but on the whole I reckon I’m right. Get yourself a clever lawyer and pay them well, and you’ll be okay.

Comments are closed.