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Solicitors warn against legal aid cuts

Solicitors warn against legal aid cuts

Leading solicitors have warned that Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke's plans to cut legal aid will stop thousands of people turning to the justice system for help.

President of the Law Society Linda Lee explained that she is "absolutely opposed" to plans for the £2.2 billion-a-year legal aid budget to be reduced by £350 million.

This reduction is expected to cost 500,000 instances of legal assistance and 45,000 representations every year.

Ms Lee claimed that thousands of people would be left without proper means to right wrongs. She said: "Ordinary people will be denied access to justice."

The society said it is venturing into "cloud cuckoo land" to claim that people with mental health issues or those who are not well-educated could successfully represent themselves at tribunals.

She added: "It would be worse than a two-tier system.

"Simply put, some people won't even have any access to help. They will be lost from the system."

The Law Society has revealed a series of alternative proposals that would enable costs to be reduced but still allow people to continue to be represented.

These include changes to fee structures and creating increased efficiency in the justice system.

Veteran campaigner Joanna Lumley has backed the Sound Off For Justice campaign against the Government's plans to axe civil legal aid for a wide range of disputes, including those over relationship break-ups, school admissions and expulsions, as well as clinical negligence.

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