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'Much of what we feared about LASPO has come to pass. Individuals dealing with life-changing legal issues are denied fair access to justice if they cannot afford it.The increased number of Litigants in Person (LiPs), particularly in the family and civil courts, is placing unprecedented pressures on courts and voluntary services. Nearly 90% of respondents who work with family courts and 70% of respondents from civil courts reported an increase in self-representation. This results in cases not being properly presented, which can lead to extra delays, pressures and costs on the court system, as well as litigants not making points or speaking up when they should, so damaging their case.
A rise in self-representation is clogging the courts and creating additional costs to the tax payer, free frontline legal advisors are creaking under the strain, pro bono lawyers cannot cope with the demand, and the safety net the government created for providing legal aid in "exceptional cases" is not fit for purpose.'
"The final professional word for the practitioner in family and child law" Phillip Taylor MBE...
'We are seeing a 40% increase, and one month an 80% increase in applications and that is massive. It means a lot more people are going to go unassisted.'The Bar Council urges the Government to provide funding for initial specialist legal advice and assistance so individuals do not have to wait for their cases to become urgent and complex, by which point they can be impossible to assist. Nicholas Lavender QC said:
'There is a clear consensus between barrister and frontline service provider interviewees that LASPO has had a significant detrimental impact on access to justice.'The report, LASPO: One Year On is based on research drawn from semi structured interviews with barristers and frontline free legal service providers, and a survey of over 700 legal practitioners (90% of whom are barristers) working on civil, family and legal aid cases. The report was carried out in order to look at the effects of the legislation on access to justice and on the legal profession one year on from the LASPO Act coming into effect.