Westminster Legal Policy Forum

The future for legal aid in England and Wales - scope, fees and access to justice

Morning, Tuesday, 19th March 2019

Central London


Please note the date of this seminar has changed.

With the Government’s post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) expected to be published later this year, attendees will discuss the key findings and the implications for future reform of the system.

Planned sessions will discuss the success of LASPO in discouraging unnecessary litigation and ensuring value for money, and examine stakeholder perspectives on the future for the system, particularly in light of concerns surrounding access to justice following reforms.

Delegates will discuss the future scope of legal aid, including options around legal fees and their implications for providers, the retention of legal aid lawyers, and the way ahead for ensuring access to justice - including discussion on the Joint Select Committee report, which highlighted the need for further support for those using the Exceptional Case Funding scheme, particularly due to barriers for applicants, and challenges raised by legal practitioners in providing assistance.

Further sessions will consider the steps that can be taken to develop alternative sources of legal advice early in the process, representation and assistance for litigants in person. It will also consider the future role of services such as mediation, pro-bono and McKenzie Friends in meeting un-met legal need, as well as options for strengthening public legal education.

Guest of Honour

Nick Goodwin

Director, Access to Justice Policy, Ministry of Justice

Guest of Honour

Nick Goodwin

Director, Access to Justice Policy, Ministry of Justice

Keynote Speakers

Lord Bach

Author, Bach Commission: The Right to Justice and Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid

Senior speaker confirmed from the Legal Aid Agency

Denise Swanson

Head, Access to Justice Unit, The Scottish Government


Ellie Reeves MP

Member, House of Commons Justice Select Committee

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP

Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid


Christina Blacklaws

President, The Law Society

Steve Hynes

Director, Legal Action Group

Pamela Fitzpatrick

Director, Harrow Law Centre

Joanna Sidhu

Head of UK, CrowdJustice

Mary Banham-Hall

Managing Director, Focus Mediation

Tom Franklin

Chief Executive Officer, Young Citizens

Senior speaker confirmed from the Personal Support Unit