We have known for a while that legal aid was being reviewed by the Government because they believed that too many people were abusing the system. Such examples as anyone at Crown Court could claim legal aid, regardless of personal circumstance, added fuel to this passion to restrict funding, and on the face of it, why not? If you can afford to represent yourself, then you should, surely!
The problem has now been highlighted that these “Fair” cuts will not be as fair as we would really like. Take things like divorce, currently you could claim legal aid, but under new legislation, it will have to be funded privately, unless you are suffering from domestic violence, then you would get legal aid. I would not have a problem with this, apart from the fact that they have redefined Domestic Violence as Physical only. Therefore, all those partners coming under psychological abuse have now been abandoned until they get a good ole beating. In Family law, 62% of applications are by women, what does that tell you?
What really grips me about this type of cut is that it is the poor and needy that are being penalised for the actions of the rich. It is because those who could fund their own defence, who are just claiming legal aid because they can, and not thinking of the wider issues. I guess that’s like any benefit, people claim because they can, not because they need to. Critics are quick to blame the previous government for this, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Some people have lost their moral backbone, just because they think they are entitled. This is where the welfare state falls over, not because of its intentions, but because people are inherently human. Everyone points to the benefit snatchers, but take a broad look and take int he tax avoiders and evaders too! Who is worse? The benefit snatchers who are generally (not all) doing it to survive, or the tax avoiders who are just wanting to evade what they should be paying to get an even bigger slice of pie!
Anyway, I got off track, Legal Aid should be trimmed, should be means tested in all courts, but the redefinition of Domestic Violence and abuse for Political reasons is just wrong.