A Adoki suggests that we should let the system implode, rather than do what we can to mitigate the inevitable and serious adverse consequences that we all recognise will result from legal aid cuts. As chair of the Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee, I cannot agree.
The increased use of technology, the development of new ways of packaging and delivering services, and the corporate social responsibility of the profession all have an important place in seeking to ensure that justice is readily available in this country. It is strongly in the interests of the profession that we explore new ways forward, for three reasons.
First, the proposed tactic of letting the system implode is unlikely to work. There is zero prospect of significant increase in the budget in the lifetime of this parliament. Therefore, we need to ensure that the available public money is most effectively applied to those cases that cannot be resolved in other ways.
Second, if we identify areas where new approaches are able to meet clients’ needs, our representations to government about the problems caused by the new act that we cannot solve will be substantially more credible.
And finally, it is simply the right thing to do. It cannot be acceptable to refuse help to those in genuine need in order to make a political point. We would be undermining the ethos of our own profession.
Andrew Caplen, Heppenstalls, Lymington