Legal aid law is an ass, say lawyers

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Two lawyers who gave free help to hundreds of people through the Citizens Advice Bureau have criticised the legal aid cuts that forced them to quit.

Leo Marchant and Siobhan Arslan ran the Family Law Unit at the city centre’s CAB until March this year.

Government changes from April 1 mean most areas of private family law, including disputes about children, property and finances, can no longer be covered by legal aid.

Leo and Siobhan, like most other legal aid lawyers, say this will result in the most disadvantaged clients being unable to get legal representation.

Said Leo: “The cuts to legal aid mean clients either have to pay for legal services or attempt to deal with matters themselves.”

The former CAB pair also found themselves facing unemployment under the new rules.

But last week, they launched their own new practice – Acorn Family Law – still based within the CAB’s Acorn House premises.

“Our mission is to help those who no longer qualify for legal aid by providing a quality service at competitive rates,” said Leo.