How have legal aid cuts affected you?

14 May 2014

Senior judges and lawyers have warned that cuts to legal aid are having a serious impact on the justice system, with major fraud trials now in dispute. Share your experiences of claiming legal aid or working in the legal profession at this time.

Legal aid fees in England and Wales have been cut by up to 30%. Eight major fraud trials are in currently in contention due to a dispute over criminal barristers and the Ministry of Justice.

This follows an unprecedented ruling by a judge at Southwark crown court to abandon a fraud trial because defendants would not receive a fair trial due to inadequate representation. Lawyers for the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, are currently intervening in an emergency appeal court hearing.

The Judicial Executive Board, which represents senior judges, have warned that the cuts have lead to unrepresented claimants, courtroom violence, increased costs and extra litigation. Lawyers have taken to the streets to strike in protest and threatened to refuse criminal cases at the crown court.

We would like to hear your experiences of legal aid. Have you ever received legal aid? If so, why did you need it and how did it help you? Are you a lawyer who has gone on strike? How have the cuts affected you and your clients? Are you aware of past cases that would not receive financial support if they needed it today?