ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Every Legal system needs a degree of credibility to be seen as effective and fair. On the other hand there are several ways and means of stability to ensure that justice serve to everyone in the society.

In England and Wales the Legal aid system is one of the measures created to establish a frame work of advice, representation and assistant funded from public purse to assist those unable to carry such financial burden individually.

1Legal aid scheme was set up in 1949 and the purpose of the scheme is set out in s1 of the legal aid act 1988 to basically create the frame work for the provision of legal advice, assistance and representation [2] to openly support the view of helping people who might otherwise be unable to get advice, assistance or representation on account of their means by examining the fact that legal aid has helped millions of people to have access to justice who would not otherwise have been able to afford it.

3Public interest is the wellbeing of the general public in which the society has the ability to authorize acknowledgment, promotion, and protection with the government and its agencies regardless of the vagueness of the term. It is usually claimed by governments in matters of state secrecy and its confidentiality. [4] It is approximated by evaluating the expected gains and potential costs or losses associated with a decision, policy, program, or project.

THE KEY OBJECTIVES AND AIMS OF LEGAL AID

5These are the aims and objective of Legal Aid

6To improve the target of the legal aid funds which is towards the areas of need, particularly where suppliers can provide early high quality advice at less cost than the present court based approach.

To provide incentives for providers to investigate another means of resolving disputes among the parties.

To encourage other providers, such as advice agencies who would offer contract agencies to bid for contracts and perform legal aid work.

To widen up the possibilities for assistance and representation and other methods of dispute resolution outside the courts while ensuring the costs remain under control.

Legal aid enables people to protect their fundamental rights.

Legal aid helps individuals to be independent of funders and government.

Legal aid also brings services to clients who do not currently access legal services.

Origins of the Legal aid act

7Legal aid act lies in the efficiency scrutiny which is conducted by a team led by the Governments efficiency unit between February and June of 1986 whose report was in due course followed by the white paper legal aid in England and Wales. New frameworks was published in March 1987 which was about the scrutiny report and have identified four main action, namely [8] reorganisation of the administration of legal aid, alterations to arrangements for provision of legal advice, redesign of procedures for handling applications and contributions and curbing of unnecessary procedures and hearings.

Legal aid act also seeks to lay the necessary ground work for transformation in these areas and the government’s proposal for changing the legal aid scheme which are based on these two important principles;

Legal aid services must be of high quality and should contain enticement for providers to improve the quality of those services and to find new and better ways of delivering them.

Legal aid should be aimed at those cases and clients most in need of it.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND LEGAL AID

When you are thinking about taking a case to court, or when you are responding to court action by someone else, you need to give some thought to ADR. However, it is the government policy to encourage people to try to resolve a dispute before taking it to court.

9When people in society are faced with a legal problem, the average person will usually need expert help from a solicitor. However, some people would experience difficulties in seeking legal help. Additionally when a person cannot get the help they need, they normally say that they are being denied access to justice.

10Most vulnerable people who do not have money to take cases to court or have legal aid are people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities and physical disability, sensory disabilities (hearing disability, vision disability, deaf blind, or speech disability), psychiatric disabilities/ Mental illness and also people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, children and young people, older people, people on low incomes and homeless people.

Difficulties for people who are socially and economically disadvantaged

11Many of the difficulties identified by providers are relevant to all disadvantaged groups in the community. These included:

the high cost of legal services

inadequate funding for legal aid service providers

restrictive funding policy for legal aid

restrictive legal aid eligibility guidelines

poor coordination of legal aid services

unavailability of legal aid services due to service providers having a conflict of interests

tax deductibility of legal expenses for companies and businesses

limitations with pro bono legal service provision

changes to civil liability laws which restrict accessibility to lawyers

Inaccessibility of legal information websites and help lines.

Some of the difficulties in obtaining legal assistance relating to particular disadvantaged groups as identified by contributors are as listed below:

People with disabilities

communication difficulties with legal practitioners

lack of knowledge of available options for legal assistance

lack of awareness that action may have been taken against them

Reliance on others to access legal assistance.

Also for people with an intellectual disability

lack of financial resources

lack of awareness that legal advice or representation may be necessary

difficulties in communicating with legal practitioners

lack of understanding by legal service providers as to the nature of intellectual disability

ACCESS TO JUSTICE

12Access to Justice is the constitutional right of each citizen; the interest of the citizen should predominate in policies on access to justice and not the interests of the provider of services.

However, the Access to Justice has a goal which is not only procedural Justice but substantive Justice, which is why people will need legal assistance both in relation to civil and criminal law.

13Access to Justice requires policies which set up every possible means towards achieving their goal including the change of substantive law procedure education, information and legal services. Policies on legal services need to set up portfolio approach to a wide range of provision.

Within civil law more attention should be given previously to the particular needs of poor people currently excluded from legal aid that has full potential of technological advances must be connected. The constitutional right to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty should be respected as an important principle of criminal law.

14In Access to Justice the policies must relate to the characteristic of the society in which they operate. Our society has changed compare to 50 years ago when legal aid was first implemented as part of the welfare state.

15The Act of Access to Justice made some various changes in the provision of the legal services and complaint against lawyers. It has also change the law about lawyers’ rights of audience and rights to conduct litigation by

16Abolishing the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (ACLEC) and creating a new body, the Legal Services Consultative Panel, which will take over ACLEC's functions in advising the Lord Chancellor on legal education, changes to authorised bodies' rules and the designation of new authorised bodies;

17Making simple procedures for changes to rules and the designation of new authorised bodies and giving the Lord Chancellor the power with the approval of Parliament, to change rules which overly restrict rights of audience or rights to conduct litigation or the exercise of such rights;

establishing the principle that all barristers and solicitors should enjoy full rights of audience, and in particular enabling employed advocates, including Crown Prosecutors, to appear in the higher courts if otherwise qualified to do so, regardless of any professional rules designed to prevent their doing so because of their employed status; and

Passing a statutory statement that lawyer' ethical duties overrule all their other legal obligations.

Setting up the principle that all barristers and solicitors should enjoy full rights of audience, and in particular allowing all employed advocates, including Crown Prosecutors, to appear in the higher courts if otherwise qualified to do so, regardless of any professional rules designed to prevent their doing so because of their employed status; and

Giving the Lord Chancellor the power with the consent that Parliament need to change rules and regulations which unjustifiably restrict rights of audience or rights to conduct litigation or the exercise of such rights;

CONCLUSION

In Legal Aid those who are very comfortably well off on almost every important index such as job security and income, home tenure savings etc and those so poor that they are increasingly identified as an underclass excluded from many aspects of society and those in between, minor groups on the edge of poverty of full insecurity.

Justice should be there for all of us when we need it. It should not be just for the wealthy or those on the very lowest income but justices always has a cost in time and money and also want to encourage fair settlements of disputes before they go to court, whenever possible. We do not want to create a litigious society but one in which people respect one another rights