Richard Miller, Head of Legal Aid at The Law Society, said of our Access to Justice Campaign, launched in September 2104, “I am very keen that [it should] include guidance to our members about what they can do to make services more affordable to clients; and that, of course, includes how they can use technology either to deliver old services in new ways or to find new services to provide.”
Neither the scale of the challenge nor its seriousness should be underestimated. On the one hand, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (Laspo) Act 2012 sliced £330m out of the annual civil legal aid budget; on the other, according to Oxfam, one in five of the UK population lives below the poverty line. This is a toxic combination for us all, not just those, mainly recipients of help but also providers of services, who are directly affected. In the Law Society’s view, in the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers to account. Access to justice is the foundation of a fair and democratic society and an attack on those foundations is an attack on us all.
Can technology really make a difference?