Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, has once again criticized the Legal Aid system, accusing it of being “neither compassionate nor even humane.”

In a developing situation reported in an earlier post, Sir James Munby has continued to decry the failings of the Legal Aid system, as reported in the Law Society Gazette.

Last year he spoke out against a case wherein the government had denied Legal Aid to a toddler’s parents, both of whom suffer learning difficulties: a couple in need, of whom Munby accused the government of “washing their hands.”

Since that time, the parents have been offered Legal Aide; however Munby has still voiced his outrage that the child was removed from his parents on 25 April, but that it took until 1 December for Legal Aid to be granted. “Whatever the administrative excuses, the human reality is that a little boy has been separated from his parents pending a final decision for far too long – and for a period which is manifestly excessive,” he said.

He additionally voiced his concern that the complexity of the Legal Aid application process was “quite manifestly” beyond the parents’ capabilities, noting that it was only through pro bono work that the parents secured any assistance at all. He went on to state that “This state of affairs is, to repeat, both unprincipled and unconscionable. For any parent who lacks capacity, the application process itself functions as a barrier to access to public funding.”

Munby summarized his dissatisfaction with the statement that “The parents can be forgiven for thinking that they are trapped in a system which is neither compassionate nor even humane.”

For the full story visit the Law Society Gazette.

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