A disabled teenager from Grimsby has joined the battle to save the UK’s legal aid system.
The English legal system has been proud to offer access to justice for everybody regardless of how much money they possess, but is that state of affairs to continue?
Kenneth Clarke, the justice secretary wants to cut the amount of public money spent on legal aid, but campaigners against the cuts say this will deny access to compensation for families who have suffered medical negligence.
14 year old Grimsby boy, Andrew Green, was born with cerebral palsy because medical staff delayed dealing with complications during his birth. Andrew’s family qualified for legal aid and an in-depth investigation was conducting into the circumstances surrounding his birth. The family were also able to hire a medical negligence solicitor to help them and they were eventually awarded personal injury compensation to pay for Andrew’s lifetime care.
Andrew now supports the Sound Off for Justice Campaign, which highlights the cases personal injury solicitors think will no longer receive legal aid.
Legal Aid was set up shortly after World War II and the current annual bill is over £2 billion. The government wants that amount reduced by about £350 million a year by 2015 in England and Wales.
Kenneth Clarke says financial assistance in civil cases should only be available on a routine basis where “life or liberty” are at stake. Following a recent consultation, a final decision has yet to be made on the future of the programme.