Cuts in legal aid will force more people to do without lawyers and cause gridlock in courts, the Bar warns. ‘The planned cuts will have a devastating effect on access to justice’, it says in a formal response to the Government. Stephen Cobb, QC, chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, said ‘We fear these attempted cuts, being so crude and brutal, will cost more than they save. They will trigger a surge in DIY litigants which will slow down the court process considerably.’

In areas such as crime and family work, the impact could result in men or women suffering from serious domestic abuse having to act for themselves. The Bars comments come as the professional body for 130,000 solicitors in England and Wales launches its campaign, Sound Off For Justice. The proposed cuts will take £350 million out of the legal budget with key areas including medical negligence and family issues coming out of legal aid entirely, the Law Society said.