Sentencing And Punishment Of The Legal Law Essay

711 Words Mar 30th, 2015 3 Pages
Members of the legal profession are claiming that changes to the availability of legal aid brought about by the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 could cause harm to the rule of law. The Act it is claimed creates an environment in which those who, without the financial resources to access justice will be denied access to justice. In principle the rule of law is intended to ensure that the law is just, accessible to all and that it is enforceable. That is to say, everyone should be able to enforce their legal rights, have access to legal advice and have access to some form of adjudication if they have a legal claim. The high cost of obtaining legal advise and bringing claims to the courts is an obstacle to the vast majority and therefore, the vast majority of the population require financial assistance in order to obtain effective access to justice.

The Legal Advise Act 1949 made provisions for means tested funding by the state for the payment of legal fees. These fees covered the cost of legal advise, the drafting of legal documents and of legal representation. Thus, access to justice became widely available to those who satisfied the means and or merits test. The Legal Aid Scheme was demand led and over time the cost to the state escalated considerably. Concerns over this led to a series of reforms which tightened up the means and merits criteria and put in to place a fixed annul budget for the funding of legal aid…

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