One of the most important parts of the welfare state was the Legal Aid and Advice Act of 1949, which ensured “assistance and legal advice…so that no one will be financially unable to prosecute a just and reasonable claim or to defend a legal right”.
The innocent and vulnerable facing criminal proceedings were protected by a comprehensive national scheme. But 60 years later, New Labour is demolishing these basic rights.
The imminent implementation of the Carter proposals means that if you are arrested, an inexperienced minion in an NHS-Direct-style agency can deny you a solicitor. If you manage to get past this, you will no longer be able to have the solicitor of your choice, but instead will be appointed one from a list.
Why change legal aid provision?