Though it has now been several years since the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 withdrew the availability of most legal aid for civil law cases, the repercussions of this are still being felt by a wide section of the community. Some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society can no longer instruct a solicitor using the public fund of legal aid.
Even where legal aid is available, eg domestic violence cases, stringent evidence requirements and means testing limits those who can access a solicitor. Most people now must pay privately for a solicitor or rely on a limited number of advice services. We think it vital that attention is still brought to the important issue of access to justice for all.
Research on access to justice issues within the Law School naturally coincides with pro bono work in the University of Westminster Student Law Clinic, particularly the family law clinic. Members of the Centre have presented work on the challenges faced by litigants in person during family proceedings. Following the clinic involvement with the reported case of Re JS  EWHC 2859 Fam, current research focuses on ‘cause lawyering’ and how law clinics can identify and support key cases.
Find out more about the Student Law Clinic.