MPs have condemned the Legal Services Commission for failing to consult the authorities in Wales over cuts to its Cardiff office.
In a report published last week, the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee said the LSC’s ‘insensitive’ failure to contact either the Wales office or the Welsh Assembly Government over plans to relocate services from Cardiff to London was ‘unacceptable and presents a serious risk to the provision of legal aid services in Wales’.
The committee said the provision of adequate legal expertise for interpreting Welsh language legislation is essential, and that domestic Welsh legislation on issues such as housing and vulnerable children would have an impact on legal aid cases. MPs described the LSC’s limited consultation as ‘evidence of an inward-looking and metropolitan attitude that is insensitive to the needs of a devolved administration’.
Paul Davies, the LSC's director for Wales, said the commission would consider the committee’s recommendations.
‘We do, though, accept the select committee’s conclusion that we did not engage as widely as we should have done,’ he admitted.
‘The LSC is not closing its Cardiff office, and we will continue to have a strong presence in Wales. Both the government and the LSC are alive to the sensitivities of devolution, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Wales Office, Welsh Assembly Government and other stakeholders,’ he added.