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Filling the gap: pro bono v legal aid

Lawyers aren't keen on working for free, but they don't want to let vulnerable people go unrepresented either, says Sinead Hayes

19 May 2017

Access to legal advice may be all that stands between vulnerable people and injustice. Catastrophic cuts to legal aid have created an era where society’s most vulnerable have nowhere to turn for legal assistance when they need it the most, and the focus on providing free advice has now reached an all-time high.

Historically, pro bono work was undertaken by lawyers so that access to justice prevailed, particularly for members of the public who could not otherwise afford it. Pro bono used to be delivered on an ad hoc basis but we are now seeing a more collaborative approach in providing such services. As the legal climate continues to change, will there be an inevitable increase in pro bono services?

That may be the case, but the reality is that legal aid cuts have had an astronomical effect on access to justice. This cannot continue, nor should legal aid services be re...

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