There has been a rise in court cases without legal representation due to cuts to legal aid, according to a Channel 4 News report tonight in what experts see as the criminal justice system “on the verge of collapse.”
The report isn’t available on the site just yet but it appears that the channel has seen exclusive documents detailing a lack of legal representation in the Humberside region which experts say acts as a blueprint for the rest of the country.
Home Affairs correspondent Simon Israel draws on one case of a octogenarian deaf man charged with attempted murder whose case continues to be delayed because he has no legal representation. The man, who has apparently had some 19 hearings so far, is just one example of mounting costs due to delays in the justice system, raising questions among experts as to how much the cuts to legal aid will really save.
Last week, Family Law Week published a piece online about the rise in litigants in person, citing judges’ concerns that legal representatives were “a rarity” in private law children cases.
Tony Roe, principal of Tony Roe Solicitors, solicitor & family law arbitrator, told the website:
“This evidence from judges shows a large increase in the number of cases where one or both parties do not have legal representation, especially private law family litigation. This contradicts Ministry of Justice claims that the latest figures demonstrate family court performance is being maintained.
“The Judiciary’s perception is that cases which might have settled are now often fully contested by litigants in person, requiring significantly more judicial involvement, causing delays. Increased delay in the family courts will inevitably lead to practitioners advising their clients to opt for family arbitration to achieve a speedier resolution, not to mention a confidential and flexible one.”