Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Legal Aid Cuts

I saw Kenneth Clarke on the news last night. He was announcing cuts to the legal aid service. He didn't mention the legal aid that went to the three former Labour MPs who are facing criminal charges because of their claims for expenses. I wrote about this at the time and I still can't see why the taxpayer should foot the bill. The official answer is that they may face prison so they should get the aid. I think they could afford to pay for their own lawyers.

I am in broad agreement with Mr Clarke but I decided to write this blog when I heard him say "It cannot be right that the taxpayer is footing the bill for unnecessary court cases which would never have even reached the courtroom door, were it not for the fact that somebody else was paying". I thought that was the whole point of legal aid. Allow those who can't afford it to get to that courtroom door. That door will still be reached by those who can afford it.

It can be argued that lawyers fight for all the cases that reach that courtroom door on the grounds of law and they do so for people who could not otherwise afford to be there. As with most of the social sciences, there is a balance as to how much support is given. However I think the balance needs to move away from the compensationitis that plagues our country. We give legal aid for those who are excluded from school. It's time we supported our teachers in their decisions and didn't pay lawyers to put the case against them.

Change the world.


  1. I have to defend legal aid here...if it wasn't for legal aid I would..at best be in a seriously unhappy marriage...at worst..if I managed to do itr...not be here.

  2. I'm sure legal aid has a place Sea, it's just that I also think it's best if you can steer clear of lawyers. I once heard the expression "a smile a day keeps the lawyer away", and that was from a lawyer.