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Legal Aid Scheme: Equality

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 51607, tabled on 1 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s response to the Post-Implementation Review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, what estimate his Department has made of the number of cases of people with protected characteristics unable to access legal aid.

Answered on

4 June 2020

The Post-Implementation Review (PIR) of LASPO assessed the impact of LASPO on individuals with protected characteristics and considered how those accessing legal aid has changed over time. This concluded that diversity data shows few substantial changes in the proportion of clients with different characteristics but that key stakeholders raised concerns that LASPO may have had a disproportionate impact on certain groups. This assessment is included at paragraph 170 – 194 of the PIR, which can be found here:

Alongside the PIR, we published the Legal Support Action Plan (LSAP) which set out our vision of a modern system of legal support. This includes ensuring that the method of accessing such support does not inadvertently act as a barrier for some groups. To this end we announced the removal of the mandatory requirements from the Civil Legal Advice telephone gateway for debt, discrimination, and special educational needs cases and this change came into force on 15 May. We continue to review the equalities’ impacts of legal aid policies on those with protected characteristics.

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