No legal aid for 'personal problems'?

The Law Society Gazette told us yesterday that more than eight out of 10 people believe civil legal advice should be free for people on average earnings or below, according to a survey commissioned by the Legal Action Group. Hmm, nice idea, but I think the LAG is wasting its time - with all the cuts going on elsewhere, our lords and masters at Westminster are hardly likely to spare the civil legal aid budget from the chop.

The same Gazette article went on to tell us that justice minister Jonathan Djanogly has (again) hinted that family legal aid is in the line of fire, by saying: "I find that too often in modern society people are too willing to hand over to the state the resolution of their personal problems". The difficulty with such a statement is, of course, that if those 'personal problems' cannot be resolved by agreement, then the only option is to go to the court. The question then is whether legal aid will still be available for such court proceedings, where all avenues of dispute resolution have been exhausted. If so, then there will be little saving, as the vast majority of cases already settle before going to court, but if not, then those parties who cannot afford legal representation will be put at a serious disadvantage.