From World Socialist web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/ukla-d04.shtml
By Robert Stevens
4 December 2010
The British Conservative/Liberal Democrat government has unveiled a green paper which heralds the end of the 60-year-old system of Legal Aid in England and Wales.
“Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales” was released on November 15. Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke presented the report and announced that the measures will result in a cut of £347 million (16 percent) from the £2.1 billion legal aid budget by 2014-15. Clarke said, “It is starkly obvious that the England and Wales legal aid system has become far too expensive, and it is an obvious place to start tackling deficit problems”.
While the cuts are being imposed as part of the £83 billion total cut in public spending, announced in October, slashing the legal aid budget is not merely a financial decision. It has a profound anti-democratic content, the essential purpose of which will be to deny millions of the poorest people in society access to legal services.
Legal aid in England and Wales was established by the 1949 Legal Aid and Advice Act as part of the construction of the welfare state in the post-war period. Legal Aid is administered by the Legal Services Commission and assists more than two million people annually. Its budget funds solicitors and agencies that advise people on their legal problems when faced with eviction, debt and family breakdown. The service represents people in court. Its Criminal Defence Service section deals with criminal cases and Community Legal Service with civil cases.
Continue reading at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/ukla-d04.shtml