Public invited to contribute to Northern Ireland civil legal aid review

Public invited to contribute to Northern Ireland civil legal aid review

Naomi Long

A public consultation has been launched as part of a review of civil legal services in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Justice is seeking views from people who have needed to get legal advice or help in court for issues including family courts, non-molestation order, faulty goods, exclusion from school, asylum and age/gender/sexual orientation discrimination.

Justice minister Naomi Long said: “It is important your voice is heard in the decisions that affect you. The Department is asking people who have had a civil legal issue and needed advice or support to tell us about your experience.

“We want to hear from members of the public, community/voluntary sector organisations, legal practitioners and children and young people about their experiences of accessing justice.”

Civil legal aid is the system of public funding that helps with the cost of legal advice, representation in court or at a tribunal and family mediation. The current annual spend for civil legal aid is approximately £50 million.

Mrs Long continued: “We are keen to engage with users and suppliers of civil legal aid in Northern Ireland to increase our understanding of any barriers or other factors that may be impacting access to justice.

“The evidence and insight acquired during the review will be used to identify and evaluate potential policy, legislative or operational changes that might help to better enable citizens’ access to justice or to achieve value for money.”

The call for evidence runs from 22 April–18 June 2024.

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