Up to a million people live in legal aid ‘deserts’ with no access to housing lawyers and 15 million live in parts of the country where there is just a single lawyer, according to figures collected by the BBC. The BBC’s Shared Data Unit, drawing on Ministry of Justice stats since 2011-12 before the implementation of the LASPO cuts, reports that there are just four legal aid providers for welfare cover in Wales and the South West while 41 cover London and the South East, and almost half of all community care legal aid providers are based in London.
Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, head of policy at the Law Centres Network, told the BBC that the legal aid market was ‘failing’ as cuts ‘shattered local ecologies of advice’. ‘Legal aid deserts appear when there are not enough local providers of legal assistance, normally because of the Legal Aid Agency’s preference of fewer, larger agencies, meaning that if those pull out of a local area there is little provision,’ he said.
You can read the full report here.