Comments by Charles Falconer QC in The Times law section regarding a tightening of the process in criminal and family care cases are worthy of careful attention. On the face of it, removal of private law family legal aid is serving the same purpose, except that it has produced the exact opposite result.
Whereas diligent, low-paid but dedicated family lawyers were able to advise on legal help at an average of less than £200 per case and prevent thousands of family/children disputes reaching expensive court hearings, these families are now abandoned to a court process they do not understand.
Litigants in person are the scourge of the courts – ask any judge. At the end of the day, it is the children of these warring families who suffer and are the real victims of this government’s ill thought-out and cruel cuts, which have made no real saving as court trials are extended and court backlogs increase.
The answer is to restore legal aid to all disputes involving children without delay.
John Greenwood, retired family recorder and family lawyer, Chippenham