Research from uber-regulator exposes huge lack in access to justice for ordinary public
Half of British punters will have a legal problem in the next three years, but only a fifth of them will instruct lawyers to advise, according to research released yesterday.
The figures — from the Legal Service Board’s annual report — will provide fodder to legal aid campaigners as they illustrate how dramatically potential individual private clients are being removed from the justice system.
And it is not just individuals that are struggling for whatever reason to pick up the ‘phone to ring a law firm. The board’s analysts also anticipate that in the next 12 months nearly 40% of small businesses in the UK will have a legal problem, but fewer than one in five will seek advice from a regulated lawyer.
The LSB is the umbrella regulator of the legal profession in England and Wales, overseeing the work of front-line watchdogs, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and CILEx Regulation.
In the board’s latest annual report, officials bemoan the unmet legal need highlighted in the research, while subtly acknowledging there is little they can do about it in practice.
Reads the report:
“Regulators must do all they can to help consumers navigate the changing landscape as they try to solve their legal problems, especially against the background of the reforms to legal aid, where there is less money for legal aid and it funds fewer things, and the outlook for the public spending environment over the next few years.”