What are your opinions on legal aid?

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Sun, 2006-06-18 14:49

Animal rights militants are paid legal aid!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/a...

What are your opinions on legal aid?

I'm against it. However, someone always makes the following point.

What about the individual or small businessman who cannot afford to sue a large company?

I think they should have insurance, but...how to reconcile a failure to be able to seek justice with the right to be free from force or fraud?


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Right on!

JoeM's picture

These ghastly people should learn to behave themselves and should be locked up without the benefit of a defence for a couple of reasons...
1. Because they are guilty.
2. It would teach them a lesson for being poor, if nothing else.

Exactly! Just make sure we can get the best defense that money can buy for Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, Brett Reid, O.J. Simpson, Robert Downey Jr. and the like, because they are better people.

No Legal Aid doesn't mean no

Michael E's picture

Legal aid should be abolished - Many lawyers will allow themselves to do some pro bono work.  Partially becuase it will make them feel better about themselves, but mostly because it'll stroke their ego that other people think they're chartible!

Hand wringers will also have to stump up out of their own pockets - if they believed in  publicly funded lawyers they have to prove it.

Other lawyers will be willing to take on the big guys for the small guys on a contigency basis - in fact it will be better than legal aid as no lawyer will touch a case they just can't win.  (meaning less delays for other cases)

Remember, it's only 99% of all lawyers who make the rest look bad!

I

Elijah Lineberry's picture

am against Legal Aid for two reasons.

Firstly, like anything else, the State paying legal aid underpins the high legal fees generally.
If legal aid were abolished lawyers fees would fall to the benefit of everyone else.

Secondly, most crimes are committed by the 'feral working classes', or 'underclass' to use wank-speak.

These ghastly people should learn to behave themselves and should be locked up without the benefit of a defence for a couple of reasons...

1. Because they are guilty.
2. It would teach them a lesson for being poor, if nothing else.

Stalling tactics & capital crimes

Robert's picture

Not so fast:

One of the things that makes legal representation so damned expensive is the ability for lawyers on either side to engage in stalling tactics, drawing out the pre- and post-trial formalities. Such tactics benefit the person with the deepest wallets - e.g. the government!

In criminal trials, the prosecution (aka the government) has no credit limit and the ability to have the police haul the suspect in for questioning at any time for any reason it can get away with. It isn't unknown (I have experience of the NZ police using this very tactic) for the police to do this just to rattle the suspect by applying psychological and financial (the lawyer that accompanies him will charge for the time and the call-out) pressure.

Then you have the issue in countries like the USA where murder is a capital offence. No justice system can be perfect, care to guess how many people are on death row thanks to poor legal representation?

Remove Legal Aid and you'll compound the problem.
(1) Just because an innocent man chooses to risk going without legal insurance, does that mean he deserves to die when the government mistakenly finds him guilty and executes him - just because he didn't have the money to afford a good criminal attorney?
(2) Ever tried to get an insurance company to pay out on a claim for car or house insurance? Ever been dissappointed by the amount you ended up with? Imagine if you were caught in a major criminal beef and instead of Perry Mason you got some bumbler who past the bar exam 2 minutes ago because you didn't read the fine print. Care to suggest an appropriate epitaff for the head-stone in the prison cemetary?

The government isn't under any obligation to buy the cheapest & dumbest lawyers around! And the consequences of the prosectution loosing a capital case aren't as dire as they are for the defendent!

In other words, I'm arguing that Legal Aid is a necessary counter-balance to the problems with the justice system as it currently stands. Fix those problems, simplify the law so that you don't need a lawyer to do everything from buying a house to taking a pee and then maybe I'll buy your argument that Legal Aid isn't necessary.

Thanks for the comments

Marcus's picture

They have been very helpful.

The principle that Legal Aid is wrong is quite clear. However, it seems (as is the case now) you cannot guarantee justice to everyone or that they have their day in court.

Paying for the defense

AdamReed's picture

The defendant(Drunk should be entitled to double or triple damages if wrongly sued or eventually exonerated. The exact multiplier needs to be high enough that lawyers will be willing to help defendants on contingency.

Against

jtgagnon's picture

I'm generally against legal aid (when coming from taxpayer dollars). First, it isn't the business of government to get its hands involved on this level - provide the framework for a judicial system, yes. Antyhing more than that and I start getting uppity. Regardless of the small business man scenario, it is not my responsibility - nor yours - as a taxpayer, to fund his lawsuit (or the law suit of animal right wackos, for that matter).

-JTG
"Better to fight for something than live for nothing."

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