JustRights has submitted a response to the Ministry of Justice's post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The review will consider the impact of the cuts to legal aid and will inform the government’s wider consideration on the future of legal support in the justice system.
Our short response sets out the well-documented impact of cuts to legal aid on children (under 18) and young adults (18 – 25), noting that the Joint Committee on Human Rights, for example, described the effects of LASPO on children as a ‘significant black mark on [the government’s] human rights record’.
The response makes six key recommendations:
- Recognise the need for enhanced access to justice for children and young adults
- Ensure that legal aid is made available for all children and young adults who need it
- Create a new duty on providers of legal support to ensure they have the expert knowledge and skills required to work with children and young adults
- Invest in the development of independent, age-appropriate advice, advocacy and legal representation services
- Develop a national strategy for educating all children and young adults about their legal rights and how they can avoid and deal with law-related problems.
- Enable the meaningful participation of children and young adults in the development of legal advice policy and services
We have also provided the Ministry of Justice with a briefing prepared by young people as part of our Make Our Rights Reality campaign.