Committee (2nd Day)
Coroners and Justice Bill
Baroness Butler-Sloss (Crossbench)
I very much support the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick. It seems that there are certainly cases where there should be legal aid, and I support his proposals. It would be very helpful if the Minister could tell Members of the House something about the circumstances in which legal aid is actually given in inquests. I, for one, am ignorant about what the arrangements are.
Having expressed a rather strong view about the lack of appropriate legal aid in family cases, I am painfully aware of the continuing huge bill for legal aid. I suspect that the Minister has that well in mind, even if there has been a welcome reduction from the point of view of the Government and, perhaps, of us as the taxpayers. However, it was at an expense. There are various areas where access to justice is limited. One is when those who are bereaved are facing the phalanx of lawyers of those who may be found responsible for the death of the loved one. That unhappy situation certainly shows a degree of injustice, which I am sure that the Government would not wish to continue.