Missed opportunity: Wishy-washy legal aid report kicks effective support down the road
Commenting on the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Support Action Plan, which follows the government’s review into the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation, said:
“This is a missed opportunity: a very disappointing outcome to a process into which many professional organisations and individuals invested considerable time and ideas.
“We note there is a promise of more money for litigants in person. We sincerely hope this translates into considerably more resources for those organisations such as ourselves which are working with these people ,and providing accurate and bespoke information and guidance free of charge.
“The report offers a number of broad, wishy-washy statements and recycled money which kick down the road the can of effective support to those who most need it.
“We are afraid that offering legal help hubs in GP practices smacks of a bid to create an eye-catching distraction from the real issues at stake for people suffering the consequences of being denied legal aid.
“The delay in reviewing legal aid eligibility is baffling: all Ministers need to do is increase the threshold to allow more people access to legal aid: and this would be a great help in driving up numbers going into mediation which is, after all, supposed to be a government priority.
“Our nationwide network stands 100 per cent by our collective submission to the LASPO review, and we will continue to diligently put forward our ideas to transform the landscape for children and adults in separated families.”