Extensive cuts to civil legal aid that come into force this week will result in vulnerable people struggling to find help as “advice deserts” open up in parts of the country, a survey warns.
The first assessment of the impact of cutting £350m from the legal aid budget found more than a quarter of the lawyers and advisers who responded said they were at risk of losing their jobs.
Although the cuts formally come into force this week, their impact is already being felt. Some law centres have started charging clients fees or turning them away. The Red Cross has announced the end of its support for family reunion claims, housing charity Shelter has shut down nine advice offices across England with the loss of around 100 jobs and some Citizens Advice Bureaux have sent out redundancy notices.