Attorney General warns Clarke on legal aid


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The Attorney General is to write to Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke over concerns that the Government's cuts to legal aid could lead to the courts becoming clogged with people trying to represent themselves.

Dominic Grieve QC will tell ministers that family lawyers are concerned that removing legal aid from a range of cases, including disputes over relationship break-ups, will increase the pressure on courts and delay cases.

It comes after the most senior judge in England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, said the proposals would lead to "a huge increase in the incidence of unrepresented litigants".

Lord Judge said in February that the Government's proposals "would damage access to justice in a number of ways", with "serious implications for the quality of justice and for the administration of the justice system".

Mr Grieve, who met family lawyers in his role as leader of the bar, said he would write to Mr Clarke over the concerns.

"I told them that I am not in charge of this policy; and also that the Government is not going to change its policy because it is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to funding and what is a widespread perception that there should be cuts to legal aid," he told The Times.

The concerns over possible delays caused by an increase in the number of people representing themselves and worries over who would cover the extra work usually picked up by lawyers were "all good points", he said.