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11 March 2013

UK's most senior judge voices legal aid fears

Legal aid cuts could make people feel they cannot access justice and then "take the law into their own hands", the BBC reports the UK's most senior judge as saying.

Legal aid in England and Wales will be restricted in a range of civil cases from April to cut a current £2bn bill.

President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, told the BBC the changes may even lead to higher court costs.

The Ministry of Justice said legal aid would still be provided "to those who most need it".

The cuts mean people involved in a range of disputes, such as social welfare debt, employment, family problems, clinical negligence, divorce and housing problems will no longer be allowed legal aid.

But funding will continue for some cases including family law involving domestic violence or forced marriage and debt and housing matters where someone's home is at immediate risk.

It means many people will have to pay privately for advice, find charitable help or represent themselves in trying to solve their disputes.

The proposals are intended to cut the legal aid bill by £350m a year by 2015.

Read the full story here.