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Access to justice for disadvantaged communities$
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Marjorie Mayo, Gerald Koessl, Matthew Scott, and Imogen Slater

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447311027

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447311027.001.0001

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Challenges and dilemmas

Challenges and dilemmas

(p.50) (p.51) Four Challenges and dilemmas
Access to justice for disadvantaged communities

Marjorie Mayo

Gerald Koessl

Matthew Scott

Imogen Slater

Policy Press

This chapter examines these challenges for Law Centres, unpacking the reforms to legal aid and their implications in more specific detail. Following the report of the Carter Commission the previous New Labour government had promoted competitive tendering for contracts to deliver legal aid, with fixed fees for payment. This was part of government attempts to reduce costs more generally. These changes resulted in major pressures on Law Centre staff and volunteers as they struggled to provide holistic services for their clients while keeping within the new funding system's financial constraints. The more preventative, community development related aspects of Law Centres’ missions were not included at all, under this new funding regime. Meanwhile, following the election of the Coalition Government in 2010, even more serious cuts have been imposed, seriously reducing the availability of legal aid, leading to even sharper challenges for those committed to providing access to justice, regardless of the ability to pay.

Keywords:   legal aid, competitive tendering, public expenditure cuts, reductions to legal aid

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