Thursday, June 30, 2016

Statement from Resolution on today’s legal aid statistics


Speaking in response to today’s legal aid statistics, Nigel Shepherd, Chair of Resolution said:

“We believe everyone should have access to justice, and remain concerned that LASPO continues to put this at risk for thousands of separating couples.

“The legal aid statistics out today tell a very clear story: the government’s strategy is not working. The number of mediation assessments is down 14% compared to the same period in 2015, showing that fewer people are getting help to resolve matters out of court, contrary to the government’s stated objectives.

“Of course, the numbers are only part of the story, and regardless of how many people are accessing mediation, the outcomes for those families are absolutely crucial. Today’s statistics show that mediations that result in agreements are 62% of what they were before LASPO.

"This shows that not only are fewer people accessing legally-aided mediation, but within those reduced numbers, couples are less likely to reach agreement as a result. This may well be because they are now not receiving the support and reassurance that comes from getting independent legal advice during and after the mediation. Despite the fact that there is still some limited legal aid available for this support, in the aftermath of the legal aid cuts, I suspect many are not aware of it.

“We call on the government to take steps to urgently remedy this, including looking at funding for other forms of dispute resolution, and to immediately carry out the full review into the impact of LASPO that was promised when the reforms were introduced now over three years ago”.

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