Justice is worth more than money but the government has forgotten this, said Maura McGowan QC.
“The government has got to stop using the economic climate as an answer for everything,” McGowan, who has just completed her term as chair of the Bar Council, told www.thejusticegap.com. “We are undoubtedly going through very difficult financial times but there are some things are worth more than money and justice happens to be one of them.”
“We think it’s wrong in principal to deny legal aid to those who simply cannot afford to be represented,” the barrister said. “We think it’s wrong in principal to deny representation to some of the most vulnerable in society.”
While the cuts could have massive repercussions for the public, McGowan argues that the cuts could have a big impact on the productivity of the legal system.
“We also think it’s foolish in practical terms. Cases will take longer, the courts will become clogged up with litigants in person. Judges will stop being judges and become a combination of someone conducting an enquiry and a social worker. All of that will ultimately cost more.”