Like many other legal aid practitioners, I have come to realise that I am no longer able to help all of those people that I came into the law to help: the poor, the underprivileged, those who are ignorant of their legal rights and most in need of help because they cannot afford to pay for it.
I understand unfair dismissal claims are down by 70% as a result of the imposition of tribunal fees; public funding has been decimated for family cases; and the draconian cuts in criminal public funding will leave many having to travel long distances to find the few criminal solicitors left willing to undertake this poorly paid area of work.
There is a legitimate argument to be had about cost, but we also have a moral responsibility to ensure access to justice for those at the lower end of the income scale. Otherwise the rule of law becomes illusory.
Ian Godfrey, member partner, Shepherd Harris & Co, Enfield