Family Law Specialists, Hartnell Chanot & Partners were delighted to welcome the Vice-President of the Law Society, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, to their offices recently.
Hartnell Chanot was one of a select number of law firms that Lucy visited during a trip to the South West. The purpose of the visit was to engage with member firms, seek feedback on the key issues currently affecting the legal industry and discuss ways in which the Law Society might address them.
High on the agenda were the proposed cuts to Legal Aid which, if implemented will mean many thousands of vulnerable people not having access to legal support. The Law Society and law firms across the country, including Hartnell Chanot, have been lobbying the government hard to change their proposals which are being debated in Parliament as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
Due to uncertainty regarding the future of legal aid many law firms are withdrawing from providing publically funded legal services. Consequently there are fewer and fewer options available for those people needing legal help but with limited finances. Lucy praised Hartnell Chanot for their commitment to providing legal aid and to helping vulnerable clients, she commented, “It is vitally important that firms such as Hartnell Chanot are able to continue supporting clients in need.”
Norman Hartnell, Director at Hartnell Chanot, said: “It was a pleasure to meet Lucy and to have the opportunity to discuss the significant issues affecting the legal industry with a senior representative from our professional body. The proposed cuts to legal aid will have a dramatic impact on society and we are very concerned for the large number of vulnerable people which need our professional help.”
Early in December the government announced plans to delay implementation of the proposed changes to legal aid scope and provision. The legal sector has welcomed this announcement and sees the delay to the implementation schedule as providing a window of opportunity to work with stakeholders in improving Bill.