McArthur: Fundamental concerns about legal aid ducked

Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today warned that fundamental concerns about the provision of legal aid have yet to be answered.  

Mr McArthur’s comments come in the wake of the publication the independent review of legal aid, Rethinking Legal Aid. The Liberal Democrat MSP welcomed a number of the recommendations in the report, but said that some of the “fundamental and complex questions about legal aid have been ducked.”

Commenting on the report, Mr McArthur said:

Legal aid is a vital part of our justice system. It is the means of guaranteeing everyone has fair access to the legal advice and representation they need.

“This review was set up in recognition that the whole system of legal aid has been creaking at the seams for some time.  Recommendations to address delays in processing legal aid by simplifying the process and investing in service improvement, innovation and technology are welcome.

“However, the report fails to bring forward proposals to tackle some of the fundamental issues, not least the need to properly fund the legal aid system.

“Ministers will now need to decide how best to respond.  It is clear, however, that if legal aid is to work for all, these issues cannot simply be parked indefinitely.”  

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