Scottish Government legal aid cuts a ‘risk to justice’

Lorna Jack of the Law Society is concerned. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Lorna Jack of the Law Society is concerned. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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More than three-quarters of solicitors believe changes made to legal aid by the Scottish Government risk “undermining access to justice”.

A survey of more than 500 lawyers by the Law Society of Scotland found 78 per cent believed cuts to the overall budget had disadvantaged society’s poorest.

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society, said: “The legal aid system is designed to be available to everyone who is eligible, however there have been cuts to expenditure year after year which are just not sustainable in the long run. “The legal aid system is already under strain, and yet it was announced last December that the government’s budget allocation for legal aid would be £126.1m for 2016-17, a £10 million decrease on the previous year and lower than the total expenditure on legal assistance two decades ago.”

Ms Jack said there were areas of the country where solicitors could not afford to work for the legal aid rates being offered.

The Scottish Government has previously said anyone eligible for legal aid will receive it.