Legal aid cuts: “Little more than rough justice” (The Justice Gap)

16 July 2014

In an article published today by online magazine The Justice Gap, Garden Court North Chambers’ Lucy Mair talks about a case where a vulnerable 18 year old risked having to represent himself in the immigration tribunal due to the Legal aid cuts.

The article is the first in a series of articles by Jack Simpson looking at the effect that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 has had on Britain’s courts.

The idea that this man who since he was 16 has been under the care of social services would be going to a tribunal facing a representative of the government and presenting his case to an immigration judge all on his own is really sad to me” says Mair, “I think we have a duty of care to young and vulnerable people like that”.

The article also reports on an investigation last month by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and the Independent in which of nearly 500 magistrate courts surveyed, 97 per cent said that Litigants in Person (LiPs) were having a negative impact on courts work.

Sir Justice Holman is also quoted, from a published ruling during a divorce case at Britain’s final appeal court in which he was faced with another LiP …”I have had to rummage through the admittedly slim court file…I shall do my best to reach a fair and just outcome, but I am the first to acknowledge that I am doing little more than ‘rough justice'”.

Lucy Mair is a barrister at Garden Court North Chambers.

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