Only the best will do

Why is it that those who are most in need are often the ones who receive the least help? During child care proceedings, children need representation from the best lawyers that legal aid can buy.

But the government has other ideas. The Department for Constitutional Affairs’ review of child care proceedings has already been attacked by professionals who believe its real intent is to cut legal aid costs, so penalising those who need legal aid most.

Now, a renowned legal aid solicitor has spoken out publicly in a critical letter to the lord chancellor. After 36 years working in child law, Richard White is withdrawing from the consultation surrounding this review because, he says, it is being conducted by people “who have no experience of working with child law let alone care proceedings”.

The loss of someone with White’s experience to the process is a worry and the DCA should do its utmost to get White back on board, even if his views make uncomfortable reading. A consultation that doesn’t act on the expertise of those who know what is needed is not worth the paper it is written on.

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