Submission to review of access to justice
In its submission to the Access to Justice Review the Commission highlighted the following issues:
- If cases involving money damages are removed from the scope of civil legal aid# appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that less well off litigants are not denied access to justice at the initial stages.
- The exceptional grant mechanism for civil legal aid should be retained with the adoption of a non-political statutory appointee who is responsible for the grant.
- A concrete guarantee should be given that inquests raising right to life (Article 2# European Convention on Human Rights) issues will receive legal aid. This could be achieved by placing such inquests within the scope of mainstream legal aid.
- Judicial review should remain a priority area for legal aid.
- If consideration is given to amending the scope of legal aid by removing certain immigration and asylum cases or any of the areas mentioned in paragraph 5.165 of the Review then further advice should be sought from the Commission.
- The use of mediation is harmonious with the right to respect for private and family life. However# its use should also comply with the best interests of the child and the proportionality principles.
- Children should be given appropriate legal advice in order that they may give informed consent to diversionary measures to prosecution.