Cuts to legal aid is putting vulnerable people at risk, says Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tony Lloyd has again called on Government to go back to the drawing board on legal aid reforms after it emerged domestic abuse victims are being forced to face their abusers in family court.
New restrictions on the evidence needed to apply for family law legal aid means that 40% of victims of domestic violence are being denied access to legal aid. Click here for more details
Tony said: “From the very start of the legal aid debacle I have repeatedly called on Ministers to rethink these so-called reforms, which are clearly putting vulnerable victims at risk and are denying people justice.
“In Greater Manchester, we are working hard to put victims at the centre of the criminal justice system, making sure vulnerable victims are supported throughout the justice process and beyond. But we also need support of central government and it’s clear that changes to legal aid are dangerously flawed, causing vulnerable victims more unnecessary suffering.
“Legal aid is a lifeline for victims of domestic violence, many of whom have suffered years of abuse. If government is serious about protecting the vulnerable and helping victims and their children escape a life of abuse, then I urge ministers to listen and take action to remedy this flaw.”
Tony was speaking as the Justice Secretary Michael Gove announced a climbdown on another change to legal aid which would have resulted in cuts to criminal defence lawyers’ fees.
He added: “That the Government has made yet another u-turn today on cuts to fees for criminal defence lawyers suggests that they have little confidence in these reforms. If the Justice Secretary Michael Gove can back down on these changes then he can do the same on family court legal aid and make sure vulnerable people are protected.”