Legal Aid Cuts Expected to Affect Criminal Law

by JimLoxley on August 16, 2012

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The pending Jackson reforms and Legal Aid bill cuts have really caught my attention recently. This is down to the fact that they will affect the personal injury sector a great deal, but it’s interesting to see how other areas of law such family or criminal law will be affected. In the compensation claims industry, criminal injuries compensation claims are notoriously difficult to place as often-times, the amount of money which can be made on it by criminal injury solicitors is relatively minimal. Brain injury compensation claims and other serious or highly traumatic personal injuries tend to be slightly easier to help with as the amount of money which is paid out for such claims is significant, often running into seven figure sums of money. Claims like these won’t be affected and criminal solicitors will always have business from them.

The reforms represent a great deal of concern for many individuals both in the legal sector and for those people who rely on the legal sector to help them out when the need arises. Many people get help for criminal injury cases from the Legal Aid bill, and with the pending cuts, less people will be able to launch criminal injury cases as the government plans to reduce the bill by £350 million. This will in turn take business away for criminal injury and criminal defence solicitors, a good example of how the changes will have a knock-on effect to so many different legal sectors.
Image shows a justice hammer on money to represent how the Legal Aid cuts will affect claimantsWhile personal injury cases and their lack of presence on Legal Aid’s eligibility list has been brought into the light, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has other concerns too, as it published on its website recently. A victim who sustained a brain injury in an assault joined the APIL in its efforts, sharing his concerns at the compensation cuts. The victim, Mark Miller, stated that he was inspired to cling on to life after the criminal assault in the hope of meeting his then-unborn daughter. He was left with a brain injury after a random attack and has backed the APIL’s campaign in order to fight against proposals to reduce funding. Mark is currently a crime victim and unable to work at present. At very best, he has limited capacity to work.

The notoriously tricky criminal injury area of law is another sector which will suffer as a result of the Jackson reforms. Fewer cases launched means less works for criminal defence specialists and less justice for claimants. We can only hope that the government gets it right in changing the Legal Aid bill so that solicitors who work on criminal injury cases can keep doing so as people will be able to afford to hire them.

Jim is a compensation claims specialist for My Compensation, a UK-based firm serving the whole of the United Kingdom.

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