Submission to the UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee – value for ‎money from legal aid

Curran, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-6371-2975, 2024. Submission to the UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee – value for ‎money from legal aid. Nottingham Trent University.

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‎1. Whilst understanding that this inquiry is examining ‘value for money from legal ‎aid’ it is important to note that cutting funding or recalibrating eligibility with less ‎people eligible for legal aid as the Ministry of Justice has done whilst it may ‎save money in the short term has significant flow on effects in terms of ‘cost’ ‎fiscally and flow on cost in other areas, it also has a ‘cost’ in its toll on health, ‎wellbeing, housing, income support for people. It is important though to ‎remember legal aid is not merely about ‘value for money’ but its important role ‎in a democratic society and so a properly funded and sustainable legal aid ‎system is critical.‎

‎2.‎ Whilst this submission celebrates the Head of the National Audit Office Gareth ‎Davies recent report (National Audit Office, 2024) on the government's ‎management of legal aid and endorses many of its conclusions, this evidence ‎seeks to stress that all the solutions do not rest merely on economic or ‎monetary measures. ‎

‎3.‎ There are a range of other strategies that are necessary in addition to proper ‎resourcing which rarely gain attention, but which are supported by evidence, ‎evaluation and with experiences in other jurisdictions of different models such ‎as the mixed model in Australia (see below) and with success. ‎

‎4.‎ If the UK parliament is going to pass laws, then they must also consider the ‎flow on effect for people to obtain proper advice on the impacts of such laws ‎on the individual circumstances. This is critical in any discussion of access to ‎justice. The approval of legislation by Parliament requires there be a ‎concomitant obligation to ensure that subjects are also able to understand ‎those laws, know their rights, have capability and resourcing of the legal ‎support necessary to exercise these. Such as the current consideration of the ‎Illegal Migration Act 2023 Which as the author has written elsewhere, based on ‎the evidence is likely to lead to failed policy at great cost. (Curran and O’Nions, ‎‎2023) The link between equality before the law on which the rule of law and ‎integrity and legitimacy of the State reside are important considerations for a ‎Parliamentary committee of this nature even though it is concerned with wise ‎public expenditure which as the National Audit Office report shows is not ‎evident in the case of legal aid.. These remain the hallmarks of good ‎democracy. If the State passes laws, it needs to ensure people can understand ‎them and action what is required for them to have the protection of the law or ‎to address poor practice.‎

Item Type: Other
Creators: Curran, L.
Publisher: Nottingham Trent University
Date: 14 February 2024
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 20 Feb 2024 12:20
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2024 12:20
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