Call to stop Legal Aid cuts

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SOLICITORS in the North East have called on the Government to reconsider proposed changes to the legal aid system.

Almost 80,000 people used the service in the region last year, but now the Coalition is looking to make radical cuts.

The proposed Green Paper on legal aid is undergoing a consultation by the Ministry of Justice.

It has already feared that criminal and civil cases which do not involve life or liberty could have public funding revoked.

The Law Commission claims only the poorest will have access to legal help – leaving many in the lower to middle income brackets without an avenue for justice.

Family matters, which used to be funded through legal aid when income requirements were met, will only receive public funding when the case involves domestic violence – if the proposals become the law.

Solicitors in the North East have called on the Government to slow down implementing the plans and consider alternatives to the cuts.

Rob Hart, of the North East Law Society, said: “We depend hugely on the public sector in this region, and the cuts that were made during the comprehensive spending review could lead to people requiring legal aid, but it being unavailable to them.”