Tuesday, 15 February 2011

St Valentine's day massacre for Legal Aid?

Government consultation on massive legal aid cuts closed at 12 pm St Valentine's Day, as Chancellor Ken Clarke received thousands of  e-Valentine cards asking him scrap his plans to cut legal aid.

On 31 January 90 lawyers, charity workers and union members met with clients to plan a fightback at Hackney Town Hall. Already in just 14 days 1,000 Hackney residents have signed petitions to save Legal Aid. 500,000 people will lose free legal advice for problems such as debt, housing, and family, which is half of the number who are receiving civil legal aid now.

Local resident and human rights barrister Liz Davis, chair of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers said that since 1949 Legal Aid had been the fourth pillar of the welfare state, along with the NHS, free education and the benefits system. The cuts would cripple services that Hackney residents depend on.

A member of the public who was there with her disabled mother said that she was a refugee who had been helped by Legal Aid when they were both homeless. She now has a university degree and is working as a dietician with Council services to improve school meals. “I wanted to give something back” she said.

12 Courts will close over the next 2 years in London.

We put in a petition with 232 signatures by real people. People who put a mobile phone number and a post code, and a scrawl. 

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