The ability of individuals to resolve their legal issues is vital for a just society and it is crucial that people are able to access support when they need it. A core element of this support is access to legal advice and representation where it is necessary. The Government provides legal aid in England and Wales to ensure those who need it can access legal advice and representation.
The provision of legal aid is governed by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The reforms made under LASPO were intended to target legal aid at those who needed it most.
During the past year, the Government has been conducting a post-implementation review (PIR) to assess the impact of Part 1 of LASPO against its original objectives. More than 130 organisations have engaged with the review team during this process, either through submission of evidence or directly in individual meetings, consultative group sessions or events. The views and evidence submitted, alongside the Government’s own evidence, are published in the Post Implementation Review.
This review does not make specific recommendations. The central purpose of the PIR was to carry out an evidence based and objective assessment of the impact of the changes made under LASPO. We have also used this opportunity to look at how the full range of legal support should be delivered in the future.
Our new approach is outlined in the Legal Support Action Plan.
We are wholly committed to continuing to work constructively with our partners and stakeholders to explore different and innovative ways of supporting people to access the justice system of today, and into the future.
The Ministry of Justice has also completed a separate review of legal aid for inquests and a PIR of Part 2 of LASPO, which focuses on civil litigation costs.