UK – Victims turned away because of legal aid squeeze

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6929839.ece

November 24, 2009

Frances Gibb, Legal Editor

Dozens of law firms are having to turn away vulnerable clients, including victims of domestic violence, because they have exhausted this year’s legal aid budgets.

Firms across England and Wales have already used up their approved quota of cases — five months before the end of the year — because of the rise in family and recession-related work, The Times has learned.

But the Legal Services Commission, which runs the £2 billion legal aid scheme, has told them that they cannot take on any new legal aid clients once they have exhausted their pre-agreed quota.

Instead, it has advised law firms that clients must be sent to other firms, which means they cannot have their solicitor of choice. In some parts of country, clients will have to travel long distances to see a lawyer.

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