The passing of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (which came into force on 1 April 2013) has had a marked effect on the ability of disadvantaged individuals to seek legal advice.
In the year following the introduction of the Act, the reported number of people helped, in the category of social welfare law, dropped by 79% (i.e. a reduction of 230,000 individuals).
Pro bono is not, and should not become, an alternative to a properly funded system of legal aid – it simply cannot fill the vacuum and need caused by policy change and cuts - but its importance and value has never been greater.
There was a 60% drop in the number of people able to access legal aid helped in family law cases (i.e. a reduction of 200,000 individuals) LawWorks Clinics Report, April 2013 - March 2014
We recognise that legal advice provision can be enhanced by working collaboratively and strategically and we are working to ensure that our activities avoid duplication and signpost people in need, where appropriate, to available legal aid and affordable paid for work.
To help volunteer advisors understand what is in scope and the referral routes available, LawWorks delivers a training session entitled 'Legal Aid - What's in Scope?'.
Find out more
Further information on free legal advice provided across the LawWorks Clinics Network is available in our latest Clinics Report.
For further information on the Legal Aid training, visit our Volunteer Resource section.
For further information on upcoming Training and Events, visit here.