Labour's election manifesto, published today, offers little for the legal profession. Despite the start of a concerted push by campaigners to make legal aid an election issue (see this survey and this cartoon), this is the best there is on legal aid:
"We will make sure that access to legal representation, a cornerstone of our democracy, is not determined by personal wealth, but remains available to those that need it."
Quite what that means in practice is, of course, anyone's guess.
The only specific reference to reform is this: "Victims of domestic violence need far better support. So we will widen access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence."
There is similarly nebulous talk of repairing "the damage done by this government to the vital safeguard offered by judicial review". There is nothing on court fees.
The clearest commitment is to retaining the Human Rights Act: "Thanks to the Human Rights Act, some of our most vulnerable citizens, including disabled people and victims of crime, have been given a powerful means of redress. The Conservatives want to leave the European Convention of Human Rights, and abolish the Human Rights Act. A Labour Government will stand up for citizens’ individual rights, protecting the Human Rights Act and reforming, rather than walking away from, the European Court of Human Rights."
You can read the manifesto in full by clicking on the link below.
PS For all the plaudits going the way of the Legal Aid Team for the cartoon, they have to be marked down for featuring a gavel...
Ed Miliband has launched our election manifesto. It’s a manifesto for the working people of Britain: a plan to secure the nation’s finances so we can reward hard work, share prosperity and improve family finances. This manifesto is our commitment to make Britain better for you, for your family, for your community.