Access to justice
We wanted to ensure that:
- Ordinary people could effectively challenge unjust decisions taken by Government agencies which impact directly on their lives.
- Red tape did not stop people who are entitled to legal aid from getting it.
- Consumers of legal services could expect a quality service that meets their individual needs.
Without legal aid, we were concerned that thousands of people would not get access to justice.
What did we do?
We campaigned for changes to the Government's proposals and achieved key concessions on a number of key areas. These included;
- Making key exceptions to the residence test for access to legal aid for a number of vulnerable groups including children under 12 months and victims of trafficking.
- Ensuring price was not the determining factor in awarding contracts to deliver legal aid.
- The scrapping of a proposed cap on the number of legal aid funded advice providers.
Citizens Advice then responded to the Government's consultation [ 260 kb] on their plans to restrict access to judicial review. Judicial review, a technical but fundamental part of our legal system, allows a judge to review on behalf of an individual citizen how a public body came to a policy decision. It is the last tool with which citizens can hold public bodies to account and challenge the process by which decisions are made.
What was the result?
In February, the Government published their respone to the consultation on judicial review. While the Government did offer a concession on 'standing' i.e who can bring a judicial review, they plan to proceed with the majority of their reforms. You can read our thoughts in Gillian Guy's blog on the risks of the reforms.
- 10 February - Our Chief Executive examines the risky reforms to judicial review.
- 14 November - Our Chief Executive says how plans for judicial review will infringe upon individual freedom
- 8 November - Read about the five questions the Justice Secretary must answer on judicial review
- 7 October - Read our blog on human rights and judical review