The legal aid system was created in 1949 as part of the development of the post-war Welfare State, alongside the National Health Service. It provides funding both for legal advice and out-of-court representation by lawyers, for example in negotiating the settlement of disputes, and -- should it come to this -- legal representation in court. However, this is set to change in April 2013, when the controversial Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 is due to come into force. The Act raises profound concerns about access to justice, largely removing legal aid from many of the areas of law where it has previously been available.
Ms Miles is Fellow and Director of Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, and a Senior Lecturer in Law, specialising in Family Law. She is also Academic door tenant at 1 Hare Court, Assistant editor of the Child and Family Law Quarterly. and an Elected member of the Executive Council of the International Society of Family Law.