Organisations helping not-for-profit agencies and litigants in person have been dealt another blow by the decision to axe Community Legal Service grants.
After consultation, the Legal Services Commission announced this week that funding to the Advice Services Alliance, Law Centres Network and the Royal Courts of Justice CAB will cease from 1 April when the current grants come to an end, saving £655,317.
The LSC said the decision was taken ‘in light of the future impacts of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on legal aid, financial pressures and the LSC’s current priorities’. It said the grants fund activities that are not ‘core’ to the LSC business.
The RCJ CAB helps litigants in person involved in cases at the High Court, Court of Appeal and Principal Registry. The grant funds a team of four solicitors and two receptionists, who with 170 volunteers from 60 City firms, help 2,000 people a year.
Chief executive Alison Lamb said the service is trying to secure alternative funding from the Ministry of Justice.
‘It’s ironic that we’re struggling to keep the service going when we know that the number of self-represented litigants will increase dramatically with the legal aid cuts in April,’ she said.