Justice for All
Justice for All is a campaign supported across the legal and advice
sectors to ensure that all can access justice, no matter the
circumstances they find themselves in.
We want justice for all, yet demand for
advice is outstripping supply
Most people who need legal advice seek help – only half get it.
Unite estimates 2.3 million people haven’t been able to get help
for a civil justice problem when they needed it.
At least a million young people are left to cope with their
problems alone. Less than 50 per cent of young people facing
serious problems, for example in housing and education, get the
advice they need.
More people need quality advice when the
economy is bad
In 2009, our organisations saw huge increases in the numbers of
people needing advice on redundancy, Job Seekers Allowance and
mortgages. Local authorities are experiencing unprecedented demand
for social housing, debt and welfare advice services, and
More people need quality advice when
government makes changes to the services they rely on
We have seen an increase in enquiries about Employment and
Support Allowance in the last year, up to 77 per cent. This
trend looks set to continue as all claimants on the old Incapacity
Benefit will switch to ESA this autumn.
The government is proposing many significant changes to the
welfare system and public services – people will need advice to
manage these changes, if only in the short term.
We want justice for all, yet it is becoming
increasingly difficult for the public to get expert advice and
The number of solicitors firms providing free legal help has
plummeted - the number of firms providing free legal advice on
family problems has halved in the last year. Changes to the funding
system mean legal advisers spend more time on bureaucracy and leave
even tighter financial margins for not-for-profits.
The pattern of current funding doesn’t meet
The rigid funding system makes it hard to focus on clients’
needs and does not allow us to respond to increasing need for
advice in a particular local community.
Funding has focused on fewer, more specialised providers leaving
people on low incomes having to travel miles to get the advice they
need. 70 per cent of people say they had to travel more than five
miles to get advice.
Fewer and fewer people are eligible for legal
Less than one in three people are eligible for legal aid. In
1998 over half the population was eligible for free help.
Eligibility levels have not kept pace with inflation - people
who have paid off much of their mortgages or have modest disposable
incomes can be denied justice. They are neither ‘poor enough’ to
qualify for free legal help, but can’t afford to pay for a lawyer
A CAB in the East of England saw a full time student with a
three year old child who needed legal advice in a custody dispute
with the child’s father. She was found ineligible for legal aid as
her college paid for 90% of her childcare costs – this money was
included in her disposable income putting her over the eligibility
limit for free help.
Funding for quality advice is under
The total budget for legal aid is capped. Over the past 10
years, funding for civil legal aid has decreased by 24 per cent in
With cuts coming to all government spending, we are concerned
access to justice will become even more restricted.
Cuts to funding also impact on the professionals delivering
services. With the expectation that ‘more for less’ is delivered,
the workforce is being placed under unsustainable pressures to
provide services and jobs are at risk.
We provide justice for all: Community legal
services are important as they help the most vulnerable in a
community get treated fairly
Free quality advice and representation is essential in any
democracy claiming to provide access to justice. The most
vulnerable cannot pay.
We’ve built trust with our communities, because we help over two
million people every year to receive protection, shelter and
education. We’ve been doing this for over 60 years. What we’ve been
delivering is what this government says it wants from community
organisations. We’d like to continue this.
Legal services help with divorce, evictions, debts, domestic
violence, benefit problems, as well as representing people held in
police stations or who have to appear in court.
We provide justice for all: The right advice
early on can save £10 for every £1 invested and keep families
together in their homes, and in work and education
Early advice saves money
Without early help, problems become more complex. For
example, losing a job can lead to debt problems, rent arrears and
eviction, stress and even family breakdown. This costs the public
purse money from the benefit system, re-housing a homeless family
and treating stress-related illness. The human costs are even
Savings can be made by supporting public legal education. Up to
two thirds of the population are unaware of how get the legal
services they need, and nearly 70 per cent have no knowledge of
basic legal processes.
Cutting advice can be a false economy
Limiting access to legal advice can cost more in the long run,
particularly when appeals are needed.
Devon Law Centre research found that asylum seekers are being
wrongly refused publicly-funded legal representation for their
asylum appeals in 79 per cent of cases, and that at least 30 per
cent of these people have a legitimate claim to some form of
protection. Restricting legal aid to asylum seekers in the first
instance bites hard at the taxpayer’s purse in the long run.
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