The proposed cuts to legal aid will have a profound impact on the provision of legal services in our smaller towns according to East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat, who will meet local representatives of the legal profession to hear their concerns.
“The SDLP met representatives from the Bar Council and the Law Society recently to discuss the proposed cuts to legal aid in Northern Ireland and we share many of their concerns for the future of the service particularly in the smaller towns,” said Mr Dallat.
“This week I will meet representatives of local firms to hear their particular concerns for the future if the severe nature of the proposed cuts to legal aid are not addressed. “The SDLP is opposed to the 15% cut which would be levied over and above any other cuts and the party is seriously concerned that many small practices will cease to exist if these draconian measures are followed through without an assessment on the impact on the provision of legal aid for individuals and families who live outside Belfast.
“It is our belief that the Minister for Justice, in his endeavours to ‘balance the books’ must see the bigger picture in the provision of legal services and the only way to do that is to continue negotiations with the Bar Council and the Law Society who understand the impact these cuts will have on their ability to employ solicitors and barristers to provide a vital service to people who have a right to have those services within a reasonable distance of where they live.”