Green party manifesto: We’d have a written constitution and restore cuts to legal aid

The Green Party has pledged that it would restore cuts made to the legal aid system if it was elected in May.

In its manifesto, released today, the Party says that it would “move towards” a written constitution with a Bill of Rights, and that equality before the law would be a fundamental constitutional right.

It continues: “But this is only a reality if all can afford to use the law. We would restore the cuts to Legal Aid, costing around £700m a year.”

Legal aid cuts, long battled against by lawyers, have received increased attention from the general public in the run up to the election. Yesterday, an animation starring Joanna Lumley was released, giving details of the cuts that have been made to the legal aid system and Judicial Review, and highlighting the fact that legal aid lawyers earn around £25,000 a year, less than nurses or teachers.

The Guardian also reported the results of a study which suggested that access to justice is of greater concern to the public than free healthcare. 

Legal aid cuts: the timeline

19 Nov 09: Legal aid lawyers earn less than sewage workers, claims Law Soc

16 Jul 10: Legal aid training grants falls victim of Government cuts

24 Feb 11: JLD, YLAL slam proposed cuts to legal aid

23 Jun 11: Legal aid cuts given green light

30 Nov 12: Manchester law students work to fill legal aid hole                 

11 Mar 13: Exeter law students march for legal aid

2 Apr 13: Student legal advice centre reports rise in cases as legal aid cuts take hold

3 May 13: Charter Chambers: cuts to destroy the whole notion of pupillage

23 Sep 13: Tooks Chambers blames legal aid cuts as it begins dissolution

15 Oct 13: Student family law clinic substitute for London legal aid

1 Nov 13: Baroness Hale on legal aid cuts: “There will be human rights issues”

26 Nov 13: Criminal Bar will strike if legal aid cut again

17 Dec 13: Law Society members debate no confidence in leadership following cuts

6 Jan 214: Barristers stage mass protest at legal aid cuts

10 Jan 14: Opinion: No Legal Aid, No Justice 

24 Jan 14: Students plan nationwide action against legal aid cuts

28 Feb 14: Bar responds to legal aid consultation: “worst fears confirmed”

7 Mar 14: Barristers strike over legal aid cuts, solicitors call for leaders to resign

16 Apr 14: Dyers Chambers cancels pupillage, blaming legal aid cuts

17 Apr 14: Opinion: Students should not have to fill the justice gap

27 Feb 15: Law Society wins right to appeal against criminal legal aid ruling

25 Mar 15: A “devastating blow” for access to justice: Court of Appeal rejects Law Society challenge over legal aid contracts