The cuts to the legal aid budget have been condemned by another senior judge as more people face representing themselves or having no representation at all. During a recent court hearing over the custody of her children, an illiterate mother of four, who experienced difficulty with sight and hearing was forced to represent herself. Judge Louise Hallam told the hearing, ‘If legal aid is being refused to people such as this, I am satisfied that injustices will occur…Mothers in her situation should have proper and full access to the court with the assistance of legal advice.’
The statement by Judge Hallam follows the recent condemning of legal aid cuts by the president of the family division of the High Court, Sir James Munby. The statement also follows the revelation of a recent Freedom of Information request by a firm of solicitors, that, in the first nine months following the introduction of the spending cuts, over 50,400 of the 88,300 parents involved in family court cases relating to children in England and Wales had no legal representation.
To see the Guardian article, please see Boffey, D. ‘Legal aid cuts denied mother a fair hearing, says senior judge’, The Guardian, 2 November, 2014.