Legal aid cuts a false economy

Kings College have published a report Unintended Consequences: the cost of the Government’s Legal Aid Reforms, analysing the knock-on costs to the forthcoming legal aid cuts. The report argues that the Goverment has significantly overestimated the money that it will save by cutting legal aid.

According to Dr Cookson, author of the report, the “research undermines the Government’s economic rationale for changing the scope of legal aid by casting doubt on its claims of realising savings to the public purse”.

Dr Cookson identified knock-on costs of £139 million per annum meaning the Government will realise approximately 42 per cent of the predicted savings. These unintended costs will largely be borne by other government departments, with every £1 the Ministry of Justice saves removing clinical negligence from the scope of legal aid, the NHS could be liable for up to £3 – a predicted £28 million a year.