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Government criticised over Legal Aid plans

18th January 2012

The government’s proposed Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has come under cross-party criticism in a House of Lords debate, with the loss of aid in medical negligence cases being subject to the most anger. 

Under current plans, the Bill would prevent government-funded Legal Aid from being made available to people effected by medical negligence in the NHS. This came under fire from peers such as the Conservative Baroness Eaton, who cited the case of her own child’s cancer being missed by doctors as a classic example of when Legal Aid would have been gratefully received. Although Eaton conceded that she and her daughter did not require the state-sponsored help, she explained how many other, less fortunate families would have depended on the assistance for peace of mind and seeking advice on the compensation procedure.

With the prospect of those in legal jobs being unable to offer their expertise free of charge, concerns were raised and amendments tabled on all sides of the House about how damaging the legislation will prove to be.