Solicitor Rubin Italia examines the vital role of legal aid in the criminal justice system in Law360.

Rubin’s comments were published in Law360, 16 January 2023, and can be read here

“The results of The Law Society’s poll are extremely heartening, especially as public attitudes towards the representation of those charged with criminal offences can often suggest that those accused of crimes should face lengthy punishments.

The legal aid system is a fantastic and unrivalled element of the criminal justice system. Legal aid ensures that the most vulnerable defendants, including those under 18 or those with serious mental health conditions, receive excellent representation.

Thanks to legal aid, an ordinary defendant can have the exact same representation as a millionaire, promoting equality in the criminal justice system and ensuring that financial circumstances are not a barrier to justice.

Legal aid is a brilliant system that must be supported by government funding. Defendants are represented incredibly well and the legal aid system ensures an even playing field between state prosecution and defence.

The system has been stricken in recent years by funding cuts and deprivation, and young legal professionals increasingly do not see it as a viable option due to financial constraints.

Commitments must be made to legal aid funding to ensure that this vital element of our justice system continues to provide access to representation for everyone.”

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