Next month, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal concerning the government's proposed residence test for civil legal aid, which would (subject to some exceptions) limit public funding in non-criminal cases to people who can prove they are lawfully resident in the UK and have been lawfully resident for a period of at least 12 months.
Whilst I appreciate the law need be as authoritative as possible thereby requiring the use of ritualistic formal and even archaic language, we must find a way of simplifying matters such that those whom can't afford lawyers but need the support of the law and access to justice, find a way to it without becoming lost in translation.
Access to legal advice is scarcer now than it was in 1949, a damning report by the General Bar Council has claimed. The study, published by the regulatory body last year, claims that cuts to legal aid have left "devastating" implications for those hoping for a fair trial within Britain's criminal justice system.
On 4 August 2014 a 'residence test' for legal aid was to be implemented by the government. If this policy had come into force, we would have had to ask that child to produce documentation to prove that she was a lawful resident in the UK... She may not have been able to do so, through no fault of her own.
Recently, the Government unveiled plans to shave a further £220million off criminal legal aid, generating considerable opposition from across the profession and in charities and campaign groups. Ministers have fought a clever guerrilla campaign. They've salami sliced bit by bit to mitigate the short-term impact of their plans. They successfully divided and ruled the legal profession. They've smeared legal aid lawyers as fat cats and made out legal aid is only used by unworthy criminals. Needless to say, the truth is rather different.
There has been much in the press recently regarding how much barristers can expect to receive from their criminal work - many figures of which I feel are totally misleading. The best way to illustrate this is with a personal example which shows that in the line of duty many barristers work for very little, or even nothing at all.