Government should re-consider legal aid proposals, Says human rights Committee

Published: December 13 2013

Government should re-consider legal aid proposals, Says human rights Committee

The full report from the Joint Commitee on Human Rights can be found here.

Evidence from the Public Law Project's exceptional funding project has been accepted by the committee to show that the exceptional funding scheme is not working as intended. Our evidence and the committees consideration of it can be found in section 2, paras 132 - 144.

Regarding the whole report, Dr Hywel Francis MP, the Chair of the Committee, said:

“My Committee welcomes the exemptions that the Government has made to the proposed residence test and the removal of funding for certain prison law matters. Given the current financial constraints on government, we also accept that difficult decisions must be made

However, access to justice is a human right of citizens in this country, regardless of the state of the economy. We would urge the Government not to fall into the trap of knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing. We are particularly worried about the impact of the residence test on vulnerable groups such as children or victims of domestic violence.

If the Government wants to rely on the internal prison complaints system, it must urgently bring forward proposals to strengthen the system by putting the Ombudsman on a statutory footing, with guaranteed independence.

I look forward to the Government responding to our concerns about the implications of these proposals for the right of access to justice by agreeing to consider broadening the exemption for certain vulnerable groups.”

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