Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
“The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 introduces a wide range of reforms to the justice system as well as delivering structural reforms to the administration of legal aid from 1 April 2013…”
“The Act removes legal aid from cases concerning employment, housing (except in cases involving homelessness or risk to health and safety), debt (except in cases relating to certain proceedings where the home is at risk), and most welfare benefits cases (except for welfare benefits appeals in the Upper Tribunal and higher courts).”
Well, I’m loathe to call them ‘reforms’ since ‘reform’ suggests improvement, something better; but then, I suppose it depends on which side of the fence you sit.
The Act removes legal aid from cases concerning employment; is this because we refused to take up the ‘shares for your jobs’ offer?
So instead, in their petty, recriminating way, they have removed your ability to adequately defend yourself in the event you are dismissed unfairly. And will this have repercussions for accident claims?
The Act removes legal aid from cases concerning housing; what will be the repercussions for Secure Tenancies? Will it be possible to defend yourself if your landlord, local authority or housing association decides to arbitrarily change your contract?
The Act removes legal aid from cases concerning debt; those in debt surely cannot afford legal representation if a creditor decides on recourse to the courts, something that currently rarely happens if you can show you cannot pay because they know the court will look favourably on the debtor. This means that creditors can decide to take the reduced risk of losing if you cannot, and if you are already in debt, will not be able to pay for legal representation.
The Act removes legal aid from cases concerning welfare benefits; well, again who most needs legal representation yet is least able to afford it?
This smacks of nothing more than ensuring this government’s raft of new legislation hitting at the poor and disenfranchised cannot be challenged. That is the quintessential aim and effect these changes will have.