In times of pressure and controversy a good Justice Minister should defiantly bury their head in the sand and hope that it will all blow over. At least that is the approach Shailesh Vara seems to be adopting.
LASPO has been called into question over the recent weeks, with many demanding that the government launch an official review over its impact on the legal industry; especially considering the Justice Committee condemned it when assessing its implementation and response.
But the Government, led by Shailesh Vara, has chosen to ignore claims that a review is need, instead trying to divert attention towards the lack of alternative options being committed to by the Labour Government.
He was quick to underline that the Government had overseen the promise commitment to helping those who needed it but this in the eyes of the legal sector couldn’t be further from the truth.
For many the terms of LASPO have reduced the amount of support that a genuine claimant can get in terms of legal aid and therefore many of these genuine victims have been left with out the representation they need to ensure they receive their access to justice.
Mr Vara also dismissed concerns surrounding ‘exceptional case funding’ which was included as part of LASPO to help support those cases that are deemed to be worthy.
He defended findings by the Legal Aid Agency that just 7.2% of people who applied for this received it, saying that ‘the giveaway is in the title’ and that it shouldn’t be surprising that figures for recipients is so low.
What is becoming more and more evident is that LASPO has not had the affect that was so desired by the Government when they introduced it and that counts across the board.
Whiplash claims are on the way back up, suggesting what we knew all along, that the cuts introduced as part of the reforms were indeed harsh and unnecessary and the focus on the reasons for such apparent high numbers was on the wrong thing all this time.
LASPO has robbed many genuine victims, whether it is in civil cases such as abusive relationships or personal injury claims, of their basic right to gain access to justice by making legal representation unaffordable and unobtainable.
It is clear that a review is needed to see if some success can be salvaged from the reforms and for the UK, in the year we celebrate 800 years of the Magna Carta, to get back to supplying those who have been wronged the opportunity to put things right by gaining justice.
That however seems a million miles away under the stewardship of the current government. One thing is for sure, if the Government do retain their premiership come May, they will certainly need to take a long hard look at the MoJ and make some key decisions.
With Vara ignoring the problems they are plagued with and Chris Grayling consistently getting found lacking as the first Lord Chancellor without a legal background, it is difficult to see how they can continue to oversee our legal system.