HM Attorney General has today announced the launch of an eight week public consultation on civil legal aid.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek people’s views on civil legal aid provision in the Isle of Man, and explore the feasibility of alternative approaches in the future.
Civil legal aid is currently available to eligible individuals for a wide range of family and non-family matters. Family matters include divorce, child care proceedings and court orders which seek to protect victims of domestic abuse from further harm. Non-family matters include personal injury, property disputes and inquests.
The United Nations describes legal aid as an essential element of a fair, humane and efficient justice system. Civil legal aid plays a vital role in the Isle of Man and contributes to the smooth running of the Manx justice systems, and it also provides support for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
John Quinn QC MLC, HM Attorney General, said:
'The provision of civil legal aid in the Isle of Man involves a number of stakeholder groups, including members of the public, charitable organisations, advocates and members of the judiciary. I would therefore like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this important consultation, as it is an essential step towards helping understand people’s views on the current provision of civil legal aid, and will help formulate options for its future provision in the Isle of Man.'
The consultation forms part of a wider legal aid review project, which is being led by HM Attorney General on behalf of the Council of Ministers. The Legal Aid Review originally began as a Treasury ‘SAVE’ Programme project to consider the feasibility of a Public Defender Scheme in the Isle of Man. However, the scope of the project soon widened to encompass both criminal and civil legal aid.
The aim of the Legal Aid Review is to develop policy options for the sustainable provision of legal aid in the Island, which:
- maintains or improves access to justice
- supports the delivery of quality services
- provides value for money for the taxpayer
The Legal Aid Review is being carried out in two parts, to reflect both types of legal aid on the Island (criminal and civil). A public consultation on criminal legal aid was undertaken from 23 September to 21 November 2019, and over 200 responses were received. It is hoped that the civil legal aid consultation will attract a similar level of interest.
Following the review and analysis of responses from both consultations, policy options will be submitted to the Legal Aid Committee, which has statutory responsibility for determining legal aid policy in the Isle of Man.
The civil legal aid consultation is available online through the Isle of Man Government’s Consultation Hub and will be open until Monday 13 April 2020.
Paper copies of the consultation are available from the Attorney General’s Chambers on request by calling +44 1624 685452 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.