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Oct 31st, 2011

Threat to Legal Aid

By Laura Beardshall

Email your MP - Manifesto for Family Justice

Photograph by orangesparrow (Flickr)

This Wednesday, MPs vote on big changes to the English legal system that will see huge cuts to legal aid.

These changes could stop thousands of vulnerable families and children from getting the legal advice they need. A coalition of expert organisations that stand up for families at risk, including The Women’s Institute, the Assocation of Lawyers for Children, The Bar Council and Women’s Aid have put together a report  to convince MPs of the danger posed by these cuts.

There’s still time to stop these cuts from happening – we need to make sure MPs read the evidence before Wednesday’s vote by emailing them the report.

The dangers the report sets out include the risk that victims of domestic violence and child abuse could be forced to represent themselves, and so be questioned in court by their abusers.

These changes will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest. Senior lawyers have warned that the changes will be bad for children, bad for women, and bad for families.

38 Degrees members can help make sure the MPs read the independent evidence, not just the government spin. Otherwise, there’s a risk that MPs will just follow government instructions rather than trying to understand for themselves what the changes mean.

When we work together, 38 Degrees members can push better protection for the most vulnerable – earlier this year, we helped get the government to sign up to better protection for victims of human trafficking. Let’s make sure legal aid cuts don’t deny justice to the most vulnerable – can you email your MP now.

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