Legal aid is a crucial component in the fabric of the justice system in England and Wales. It plays a key role in facilitating access to justice, helping to ensure legal needs are met and that individuals can establish or enforce their rights across various areas of law. Legal aid practitioners assist clients with a wide range of issues, including but not limited to those relating to criminal defence, family matters, education, housing, immigration, discrimination, debt and community care. Yet, the legal aid system is experiencing unprecedented pressures and challenges. A review of the legal aid landscape which elevates the perspectives of those working day-to-day in the sector is vital and long overdue. Pre-existing data on the specifics of legal aid practice has been piecemeal, lacking context and insufficiently able to elucidate conditions on the ground. As such, this report presents and analyses the results of the most comprehensive set of surveys of legal aid practitioners ever conducted in England and Wales. It provides a greater and more accurate understanding of a sector adversely impacted by repeated crises and challenges. In the aftermath of Covid-19 lockdowns and nine years since the enactment of LASPO, legal aid practitioners reveal the true extent of the current state of legal aid in response to the five surveys that make up the Legal Aid Census.


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Denvir, C., Kinghan, J., Mant, J., Newman, D. & Aristotle, S. 2022, We Are Legal Aid: Findings from the 2021 Legal Aid Census, We Are Legal Aid: Findings from the 2021 Legal Aid Census. Available at: https://eprints.gla.ac.uk/280946/

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Last updated: 11 October 2022
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