19 July 2018
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has criticised the government’s legal aid cuts, stating that they have made human rights “unenforceable” in the UK.
According to the MPs’ report, large swathes of the country have seen an exodus of practitioners providing affordable legal support following slashes in funding and reforms to the system.
These areas have been dubbed “legal aid deserts” and they have made the enforcement of human rights “simply unaffordable” for many people, the Committee said.
Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, commented: “For rights to be effective they have to be capable of being enforced.
“To do this, we must have adequate and equality of access to legal information and advice; a robustly independent judiciary and legal profession; strong National Human Rights Institutions, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission and a culture which understands the concept of the rule of law, respects human rights and which is supported by the government.
“At the moment, we are seeing the erosion of all of those enforcement mechanisms because of a lack of access to justice and lack of understanding of the fundamental importance of human rights and the rule of law.”