Mind research - the impact of legal aid cuts on people with mental health problems

‘An unjust system?’ shows that 50% of people who don’t get legal aid because of LASPO have mental health problems.

Mind has long been concerned that legal aid cuts have a particularly negative impact on people with mental health problems. We believe that people with mental health problems are more likely to have legal problems, more likely to need legal aid, and that the impact of not getting it will be particularly serious.

Now we have that evidence in ‘An unjust system’? So what does it say? It confirms that people with mental health problems are more likely to have experienced legal problems – 52% compared to 27% of those without mental health problems. It confirms that people with mental health problems are likely to have morelegal problems – almost 1 in 4 will have experienced 6 or more legal complaints compared to 8% of those without. It confirms that people with mental health problems are more likely to be financially eligible for legal aid – 36% of eligible respondents had mental health problems compared with 15% of those who were not eligible.

The key finding from the research is that 49.6% of financially eligible people whose legal problem was removed from scope by LASPO had a mental health problem, whereas 18% of the survey respondents as a whole reported a mental health problem. The Government needs to be aware that the cuts are hitting people with mental health problems particularly hard.

This research comes at a crucial time. Criticism of LASPO is widespread and compelling. The Government has committed to conducting its post-legislative review of LASPO, though the summer deadline appears to be slipping. We hope that the review will focus on the impact of the cuts on the most vulnerable, including the case studies that we are releasing with the report.

The research is due to be published imminently. See here for our key findings. A link to the full report will be there shortly.

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