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Supreme Court judge: “Access to justice under threat”

(Posted on 03/10/18)


In a speech to a Chicago law school, senior supreme court judge Lord Wilson has accused the UK government of dismantling the legal aid system, treatening access to justice, the Guardian reports.

“In pursuit of its economic policy, the UK government has recently felt the need to dismantle much of our precious system of legal aid, introduced in 1949 along with the other two pillars of our welfare state, namely social security and the National Health Service,” Wilson explained.

“Even where it is required to continue to provide free legal aid, for example to defendants to criminal charges and to parents threatened with the removal of their children, the UK is dismantling it indirectly by setting rates of remuneration for the lawyers at levels so uncommercial that, reluctantly, most of them feel unable to do that work. Access to justice is under threat in the UK.”

And if defendants are being denied effective legal counsel through inadequate funds, miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions are inevitable consequences.