Urgent: days to save legal aid

The legal aid bill has now left the Lords. It will be back in the House of Commons this coming Tuesday (17th April). There are only a few days left to save legal aid and we need you more than ever!

Look at what has been achieved already. Campaigners have helped to ensure that the Government could not block crucial amendments in the Lords, like preserving legal aid for welfare benefit appeals. You can find out more with this great update from the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and this news report.

There is a lot to fight for, and we can’t stop now. MPs can overturn amendments that were passed in the Lords, as we saw with the Welfare Reform Bill. The next few days are the last chance to catch your MP and get their support.

A new YLAL report shows why this is an important issue for MPs. They rely on specialist advice when constituents bring them complex problems. If legal aid is cut, MPs will be faced with an influx of people looking for help they can’t find elsewhere, and will have nobody to refer them to. Take a look at this briefing which shows how our findings relate to amendments made to the Bill.

What you can do now:

  • Visit your MP. You can find their details here. Take them a copy of the report and explain why the amendments need their support. Face to face contact is the best way to show MPs how important this issue is. All the information you need is in the update and briefing above.
  • Write to your MP. You can do this online here. Use our template letter but please add your own comments if you can. MPs respond best to personal experience and examples from the local area. You can also send them a copy of our report. Ask your friends and family to write to their MPs too. (If you have only a few minutes to spare then use the Justice for All template email here.)
  • If you have even more energy after you’ve spoken to your MP, check out these other ideas from Justice for All.

With your help, we’ve already been able to change the Bill. If we can keep the amendments and concessions made so far this will make a huge difference to people that really need support, like the disabled, children and victims of domestic violence. Please do everything you can to make sure we don’t lose the ground that has been so hard won.

If you want any more information or have any questions, please get in touch: ylalinfo@googlemail.com.  

We are very grateful to the Legal Aid Practitioners Group for allowing us to use their update. If you would like to join LAPG, you can find out more here.