I welcome the MoJ’s announcement that guidance for its legal aid safety net will be amended to make it easier for families of people who have died in custody to receive public funding.
Legal aid is currently provided under the government’s exceptional case funding (ECF) scheme.
However, the Lord Chancellor’s guidance now makes clear that public funding is likely to be awarded to families following a non-natural death or suicide of someone who was detained by police, in prison or in a mental health unit.
This is a welcome development and goes some way to addressing an in balance of justice that has been allowed to continue for too long.
By not granting public funding for legal representation at Inquests our system has been failing bereaved families.
There are no more difficult circumstances to cope with than the Inquest into the death of a loved one.
Families need to be legally represented at Inquests. The state always is and this announcement goes some way to making the process a level playing field everyone.