We love you not’ was the message that Tees Solicitors, together with Joanna Lumley and thousands of other ‘Justice for All’ campaigners sent to Justice Minister Ken Clarke this Valentine’s Day.
Their protest was in response to Government proposals to axe legal aid for welfare benefit, divorce and clinical negligence cases. If the proposals are adopted, legal aid will only be available in cases where life or liberty are at stake, and then only to the very poorest.
“We accept that there must economies in public spending” says Paul Taylor of Tees, “but these proposals are misguided. They come at a time when an increasing amount of people need legal support for debt, welfare and benefit related issues. In particular, they hit the poor, vulnerable and disabled.
“What’s more, cuts in legal aid are likely to cost us more than they save. Legal aid in these areas actually saves money by preventing the problems from getting worse. Some estimates suggest that for every £1 spent on legal aid, £10 is saved”.
Tees are fighting the Government proposals tooth and nail. As well as joining the Justice for All campaign backed by Joanna Lumley, they have signed petitions, lobbied MPs and filed a detailed response to the Government’s proposals.
The Government consultation closed on Valentine’s Day, and the Ministry of Justice received some 5,000 formal responses to the consultation and over 4,000 campaigners sent e-cards to Ken Clarke, urging him to re-think the reforms, which will harm half a million vulnerable people.