For those working in the legal aid sector you would have thought that the publication of the MOJ's statistics showing the impact of a full year of LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012) would have come as less of a shock. We have after all experienced first hand the barriers to obtaining legal aid that are being put in place. We are also aware of the closure of legal aid providers, especially those in the not for profit sector. And yet when we read the MOJ's recent statistics they were so staggering that we were truly shocked. They demonstrate:
- 90% fall in the number of not for profit legal aid providers (870 in 2012-13 down to just 95 in 2012 - 2013)
- 50% reduction in the overall number of Legal Help matters started in the same period
- The total number of civil legal aid providers has halved
- 80% fall in the number of social welfare cases, including a fall of 45% in housing
And with this years figures including many cases that were started pre-LASPO we can expect to see a further decline next year. Read more in The Legal Aid Handbook.