As lawyers in Cambridge join an unprecedented second day of stoppages against Legal Aid cuts, Cambridge Labour Parliamentary Candidate Daniel Zeichner warns today that the changes are likely to end up costing tax-payers more, not less.
Labour Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry MP met Cambridge lawyers last month at Mr Zeichner’s invitation, where they explained in detail the impact that changes were having particularly in family law. They argue that cases being heard in Cambridge courts are now taking much longer because clients are representing themselves, because they cannot afford legal advice. As a consequence, cases take much longer, clogging up the courts – at increased cost.
Mr Zeichner says that this is typical of the Government’s wider approach to savings – by making short-term cuts that end up costing more: “Very few people understand what is happening in our legal system. I was shocked to learn about the very real damage these changes are inflicting on vulnerable families. One layer told me that she had been phoned that morning by a distressed mother whose estranged husband had just taken one of her children. Last week, with legal aid, she could have helped. Now she can’t. That is the reality of the changes, changes which are likely to end up costing more as well. "