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Austerity causing “serious difficulty” insists former Supreme Court President

By 28 February 2020News

Former President of the Supreme Court President Lady Hale claimed in a recent interview that cuts in government spending have caused “serious difficulty” for many litigants.

The 74 year-old Leeds native retired from her post this month, after two years and three months in the role. Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, she insisted:

“I don’t think that anybody who has anything to do with the justice system of England and Wales could fail to be concerned about the problems which the reduction in resources in several directions has caused for the system as a whole. The lack of access to legal services for some people who seriously need them in the areas which most affect their ordinary, everyday lives – that is a problem.”

Lady Hale highlighted in particular the abolition of legal aid for most family disputes in 2013:

“It is a particular problem in family law – disputes between husband and wife, mother and father – where there may be an imbalance in resources because of the lack of access. Most people need legal services at the beginning of a difficulty, and if they have them then it will be sorted out and they won’t have to go anywhere near a court, or they won’t have their house repossessed or whatever, because somebody has managed to find a solution to the problem at an earlier stage.”

She explained:

“It is that lack of initial advice and help which is a serious difficulty.”

Lady Hale was succeeded to the presidency by Scottish Judge Lord Reed.

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