Post-implementation review of LASPO – Response from the Association of Prison Lawyers – APL_LASPO_RESPONSE_2018_10_02.pdf
The ability of everyone to resolve their legal issues is vital to a just society. We are committed to ensuring legal aid and other forms of legal support are available to those who need it.
The consultations that preceded LASPO were published over 7 years ago, and since this time there have been significant developments in our justice system. This includes the processes through which people can access legal advice. We have seen changes in our courts and tribunals service, which are also apparent more generally in the rapid technological advancements seen across society over the past 7 years. The aim of the post-implementation review (PIR) is to conduct an evidence based assessment of the impact of the policies implemented under the ‘Legal Aid Reform’ (LAR) and ‘Legal Aid Transformation’ (LAT) programmes. The success of the policies will be assessed against the implementation objectives as set out in the Coalition Government’s response to the ‘Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales Consultation’, published in June 2011. These were:
- to discourage unnecessary and adversarial litigation at the public expense
- to target legal aid to those who need it most
- to make significant savings to the cost of the scheme
- to deliver better overall value for money for the taxpayer
The PIR process also provides the opportunity to inform the government’s wider consideration on the future of legal support in the justice system.
As part of the engagement process, Ministry of Justice (MOJ) officials have led consultative groups formed from organisations and academics representing a cross section of the justice system. These meetings took place in April 2018 and focused on the four themes: criminal justice, family justice, civil justice and the advice and third sector. The agendas for those meetings can be found above. Further consultative group meetings have been scheduled later in the year with a focus on how individuals navigate through the justice system at present.
In addition, the review team have been meeting a wide variety of interested parties on an individual and small group basis, in order to gather a broad range of evidence of the impact of the changes to the provision of legal aid made under LASPO. Through all forms of engagement, the review team has so far met with over 50 organisations in order to discuss the impact of LAPSO and many more meetings are planned for the coming months.
Alongside meetings with interested parties and to ensure our review is as informed as possible, the review team is also accepting submissions of evidence. The review team encourages submissions of all types, from qualitative research reports to statistical data. The deadline for submissions of evidence is the end of September.
The review team will draw on both quantitative and qualitative evidence from a variety of sources in order to assess the impact of the changes. The report will primarily utilise administrative data collected by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), but will also make reference to data collected by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), MOJ and other government departments.