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Legal aid reforms are a blunt attack on access to justice

January 28, 2013 4:14 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Commenting ahead of tomorrow's (Tuesday) Stage 3 debate on the ScottishAlison McInnesAlison McInnes Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"Every year, hundreds of people stand trial in court accused of crimes they did not commit. Legal Aid is our way of ensuring that everybody has access to the vital legal expertise that allows them to prove their innocence.

"Being wrongly accused it not an experience you would wish upon yourself or your children. In that situation people want to know that legal assistance is readily available to help defend themselves against the resources of the state. That assurance is a vital guarantee for any open and fair justice system.

"But these Government reforms are a blunt attack on legal aid. They will see working people across the country removed from legal aid entirely, faced instead with the prospect of representing themselves in court.

"The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe in fair access to justice for all. We will be voting against these damaging reforms."