Oona King

I'm sitting in the ancient environs of the House of Lords library listening to loud snoring from various quarters. But despite the snoring I'm confident the Lords will shake themselves into action shortly. After all, the last time the Government's Legal Aid bill came before this House we defeated it not once or twice but 14 times. It's not really because the House of Lords is packed with revolutionaries. It's because the Government's changes to Legal Aid are extraordinarily reactionary, disgraceful, and hit the weakest the hardest. And on top of that, the Government have broken the promise they gave us, which helped them get other amendments through.

Liberty, which has campaigned for years on access to justice, says that if today's business is passed it will "dramatically reduce access to legal aid for individuals seeking to challenge an administrative decision through Judicial Review," and that "Judicial Review is woven into our constitutional fabric as a core means by which the Courts can hold public authorities to account... Changes proposed will work to undermine an original legislative commitment to retain legal aid for Judicial Review."

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 May 2011 13:16

Civil Legal Aid

Baroness King of Bow: My Lords, in the time available I want to make three points about the proposed cuts to civil legal aid. First, the cuts target the poorest but reduce standards for all of us. Secondly, the cuts in their present form actually increase costs to the taxpayer. Thirdly, not only do they restrict access to justice but, as we have heard, they specifically remove legal aid from children who are victims of medical accidents or negligence.

Published in Legal Aid
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:10

Legal Aid Bill Speech

Speech in the Second Reading Debate of the Legal Aid Bill Mon 21 Nov 2011 Column 872


Baroness King of Bow: My Lords, this House knows that when a Bill is put before it, the government of the day usually get some of the legislation right and some wrong. But the wrongs contained in this Bill, whether by accident or design, are monumentally devastating. They cannot be made good by the benign aspects of the Bill or written off as collateral damage to be borne by British citizens in times of austerity. The Bill undermines the very compact between citizen and state. Were it to become law, British citizens who cannot afford a lawyer will effectively lose fundamental rights they have today.

Published in Legal Aid
You are here: Issues Legal Aid Displaying items by tag: legal aid