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Legal aid cuts fatally flawed

Government proposals to cut legal aid risk creating devastating consequences for families and children, said family law association Resolution, as the coalition government consultation on legal aid reform closes.


The proposed cuts could also create spiraling costs for the taxpayer and create chaos in the family court system.


Resolution’s major concerns include the fact that large groups of vulnerable people will no longer be eligible for legal help, including people wanting to divorce or whose partner wants to divorce them. The only option available to families who still qualify for legal aid will be mediation, which is not suitable for all cases.


Other large groups of people in need – including parents who need legal help in tracing or arranging contact with their children and cohabitants at risk of losing their home – will also no longer be eligible for legal aid, except when there has been recent domestic violence.


Other key concerns are that all legal aid will only be accessed through a single government telephone helpline – a proposal that could have a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities, young people and women and needs further thought and consultation.