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One thing that every legal practitioner can agree on is that access to justice is a fundamental principle to the rule of law. Legal aid has been a saving grace for many who cannot afford legal representation. However, what do you do if you cannot afford a lawyer and do not qualify for legal aid? The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) was introduced in 2012 after pressure on the Ministry of Justice forced the department to look at the budget. The changes to the budget were estimated to help save around £350 million per year but came with a cost. This heavily reduced the amount of legal aid available. Without access to justice, people on the fringe of society will be forced to represent themselves in court or to forgo the possibility of justice altogether.
As a law student without a practicing license, options are limited in how you can help. However, here are some things you can do as a student to mitigate the damage created by LASPO and to ensure justice is still available for all.
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