Legal aid cuts to affect MP surgeries

 

MPs will struggle to cope with the impact of legal aid cuts as their constituency surgeries become inundated with requests for advice from people who have lost out on publicly-funded legal guidance, lawyers have warned.

Cuts to legal aid firms and Law Centres will mean that people will increasingly turn to their local MP for legal advice, a report by the Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) predicted, warning that MPs' constituency offices would be inundated with complex legal cases that they are not equipped to cope with.

Reforms to the legal aid system currently going through Parliament could mean that state support will not be available for a number of legal disputes including many immigration and debt cases.

A significant amount of the work done by MPs for their constituents involves legal disputes. The YLAL report found that cuts to publicly-funded sources of legal advice would mean that the burden would increasingly fall on MPs who lack the resources and expertise to properly represent claimants.

“The areas of law that are to be removed from the scope of legal aid correspond closely with those areas for which constituents habitually turn to their MPs for assistance,” the report states. “MPs will be faced with more such issues if the cuts come in to force…there is a risk that MPs will struggle to deal this burden and that constituents will lose out as a result.”

The report, which includes responses from MPs and caseworkers in 45 constituencies, will be submitted to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid today.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP for Islington North said that legal aid firms in his constituency were already closing down.

“My staff already deal with around 2,000 cases a year,” he said. “We’re going to get a lot more and the pressures are going to get greater. We haven’t got the resources to cope with it any more than any other MP has.”

“I don’t think many MPs have fully cottoned on to the full implications of the legal aid cuts,” he added. “I think they’ve got a fairly rude awakening coming in the near future if this law gets through.”

The Government’s legal aid bill, which has already suffered three defeats in the House of Lords, is intended to save £350m from the Ministry of Justice budget.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam