Commission set up to examine cutbacks in legal aid to be wound up

An independent commission set up to examine the impact of legal aid cuts and develop a strategy to help ensure access to justice is to be wound up because of a lack of funds, according to the Law Society Gazette

The Low Commission’s future was revealed by its chair, crossbench peer Lord Low of Dalston, who wrote: “The commission, as a formal body, is now going to start a process of winding up – but there will still be ongoing work to secure the commission’s legacy and influence.”

The commission told the Gazette that its “funding cycle has run out and we have completed the mandate of work we were funded to do.”

In the newsletter, Lord Low wrote: “We have looked at undertaking a further tranche of research work to update ourselves, policymakers and our stakeholders on what is happening with services on the ground – in particular we are interested in developing projects that can realise and evidence the potential of integrating advice services into NHS and care pathways. However, this would require further resources and funding which is increasingly hard to secure.” 

The commission is currently funded by private donors the Baring Foundation, Lankelly Chase Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Trust for London.

Lord Low said the commission’s meetings with policymakers and engaging in advice sector events will be ongoing.  Its website, with access to all the commission’s work, will stay online.
The commission was established by the Legal Action Group in 2012 with funding from major trusts and foundations and support from law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance.

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