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Resolution ‘disappointed at selective reporting’ of President’s comments on care cases funding

‘Cheap shots at lawyers’ not best way to conduct debate on public funding

Resolution has expressed disappointment at the selective reporting of Sir James Munby's comments concerning the funding of care cases, extracted from his 14th 'View from the President's Chambers'. In the Mail Online, for instance, those views were reported under the headline 'Too much is being spent on child cases, says top family judge.' That news item is here.

A spokesperson for Resolution said:

"What the President actually said was the tandem model – which rightly requires that children in care cases be represented by both a guardian and a solicitor – sometimes does necessitate wider legal support. He also said of any reformed model of representation that 'none of this can be allowed to prejudice the fundamentals of the tandem model.'

"The legal aid budget in England and Wales has been decimated by successive government cuts, not least the recent £350m taken out of the system through LASPO. Those who defend these decisions characterise it as taking money away from wealthy lawyers, but this distorts the reality.

"Setting aside for the moment that legal aid lawyers earn, on average, around £25,000 per year; the truth is that these cuts have made it harder for some of the most vulnerable in society – including, for example, victims of domestic abuse – to get access to justice.

"Whilst we all agree that taxpayers' money should be carefully spent, the fact that government chose to exclude care cases from the most recent legal aid cuts demonstrates just how crucial it is to invest in ensuring the right outcomes for children in these cases, that their voices are heard, and that their safety is paramount. Without legal representation, these goals are virtually impossible to achieve.

"We are always happy to discuss how limited public funds can be best deployed to ensure children in care cases have access to justice. But cheap shots at lawyers, and selective reporting of statements from senior judges, is not the right way to have this debate."

For the President's 14th  'View', focussing on the tandem model and settlement conferences, please click here.

2/9/16