Anne Owers


There are likely to be two effects on the provision and demand for legal aid. First, under Article 6 of the ECHR, there may be a requirement for free legal advice and representation for those whose civil rights are at issue in complex cases and who could not otherwise afford it. This may particularly affect representation before tribunals, which deal with matters for which no legal aid is currently available such as employment, welfare benefits, and immigration. Legal aid has already been promised for immigration and asylum tribunals. Second, there is likely to be a large amount of litigation in the areas of public and administrative law in an effort to explore the effect of the Human Rights Act; the public law division of the High Court, known as the Crown Office, is anticipating that its workload will double in the short and medium term. Thirdly, as I will go on to explain, there is likely to be enormous pressure on criminal legal aid, which may reduce the resources available, in a fixed budget, for civil legal aid.