Recap: The Legal Needs Survey
The Legal Needs survey conducted by The Law Society has demonstrated that there is overwhelming public support for legal aid, yet legal aid provision in many areas is disappearing in large parts of England and Wales, creating legal aid deserts. Help for people that the government agrees should be available is simply not there.
Current trends show that within 5 to 10 years there will not be enough criminal legal aid solicitors to sustain the duty solicitor schemes in many regions.
The crux of the legal aid problem is funding. There have been no rates increases for criminal and civil legal aid since the 1990s, and legal aid fees have decreased by 34% in real terms since 1998. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) civil legal aid cuts reduced the areas of law for which legal aid was available.
Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene said: “The LASPO implementation review resulted in several promising proposals to improve civil legal aid. There is ongoing work on the Criminal Legal Aid Review, with recommendations due to be published in 2021, but progress has been slow and hindered by COVID-19.”
Here are some of the key findings of the report:
Source: The Law Society