This is a crisis – not a looming crisis – a current crisis for legal aid
COVID-19 is having a profound impact on society and legal aid providers are part of the fabric of the support network that is required to ensure we can get through this crisis. Legal aid providers are not (yet) considered key workers but they are delivering vital services to the public. However the very future of the provider base is being put at risk by the decline in work, by enforced changes to working practices and by a lack of a clear strategy from government to support providers and safeguard the justice system.
We are calling on government to act swiftly to support a fragile provider base that has been undermined by years of cuts and by policy-making that has left the legal aid scheme in tatters. The current crisis has just served to emphasise the deeply-rooted problems across the justice system and the consequences of years of under-investment and neglect.
In the short term we need the Legal Aid Agency to put measures in place now to support providers to maintain their services. Providers will also need financial support to get them through a period of reduced income. We have compiled a list of requests submitted by providers and representative bodies and will seek to update the list every day as the crisis evolves. We are pressing the Legal Aid Agency for action.
If you have any additional suggestions on what needs to be done to support legal aid please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the list of requests here (PDF, 14 pages, 0.4MB)