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100 leading lawyers sign open letter calling for restoration of legal aid

Labour pledges to help victims of domestic violence

More than 100 judges, peers, lawyers and doctors working in the civil and criminal justice system have signed an open letter in The Guardian calling on the next government to restore legal aid to prevent "widespread miscarriages of justice" and the further increase in unrepresented litigants.

The signatories ask the incoming government to " restore legal help to the many currently without redress and to establish a royal commission to investigate the current crisis regarding the diminution of access to justice". They also  call for "an independent body to review legal aid rates, including expert witness rates so as to depoliticise them and instead move to an evidence-based approach to ensure public need is adequately met in the provision of legal services".

The open letter is here.

Sadiq Khan, the shadow Secretary for Justice, has pledged that a Labour government would ensure that victims of domestic violence would be given easier access to legal aid. Mr Khan said:

"It's a disgrace that thousands of victims of domestic violence have been denied justice because of this government's actions. Many have been trapped in abusive relationships and their suffering prolonged as a result. Labour is not prepared to sit idly by and let this continue."

For more information on Labour's commitment, see The Guardian.

4/5/15