Legal Aid Scope and Eligibility Changes Bring About Positive Results
Since 2013 when the changes to the implementation of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) came about there has been a significant turnaround in the amount of cases disposed of in the Family Courts.
Statistics released by the Family Court for the three month period of October – December 2014 has shown that the average time for disposal of applications for care or supervision decreased to 28.7 weeks compared to the same period for the previous two years. With 50% of the cases being disposed in a period of 25.1 weeks which is mainly due to the Children and Families Act 2014 whereby the time limit for completion of cases was set as a 26 week limit. It is a huge achievement that more than half of the supervision proceedings were in fact disposed of within the prescribed period of 26 weeks. There was also a significant drop in the amount of cases that originated in the family courts in Wales and England compared to the previous quarters; with the amount of cases dropping from 66, 700 cases in October to December 2011-2013 to 59, 000 cases over the same period in 2014. This drop can be attributed to the fall in private law and matrimonial cases. But the change can be attributed to the new changes in legal aid
eligibility and scope.
The faster turnaround time for disposing of cases is a welcome relief for those who are in desperate need of assistance or simply need to have authorities put an end to their suffering.