Government cutbacks to legal aid criticised

A LEGAL firm has criticised Government cutbacks which will see significantly fewer people entitled to financial support for legal costs from April.

W11983H13 WH WORTHING LAW COURT PIC S.G. 12.03.2013

Worthing Law Court
W11983H13 WH WORTHING LAW COURT PIC S.G. 12.03.2013 Worthing Law Court

WMC Legal, in Chapel Road, Worthing, said the public is in the dark over the changes, which will force more people to risk representing themselves or pay for huge legal bills.

From April 1, funding for the majority of family cases will be withdrawn, with changes to criminal case eligibility also on the horizon.

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In cases where there is evidence of domestic violence, legal aid will still be available.

However, practice manager Sammy Metcalf said as yet, no-one had confirmed what the evidence would be.

She said: “It’s ridiculous, we can’t tell our clients much because we don’t know what the evidence is going to be.

“It might be an incident number from the police or similar, but we don’t know yet.”

Christine Campbell, family solicitor at WMC Legal, said the changes would threaten the public’s access to justice.

She added: “This is the single biggest development that will affect the public’s access to law.

“We have all known about it as it’s our business, but we don’t think the public has been made aware of it.”

For the full story, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, March 14.