Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This is another reason we hold the system in contempt

Legal aid, it's supposed to assist those who can't afford it access to the legal system for redress if they think they have been cheated or to provide a defence for them if they have been accused of a crime. All in all a pretty good idea, though like most things involving lawyers expensive and used for things the original writers of it never envisaged.
An Ethiopian farmer has won permission to use taxpayers’ money to sue the British Government ... for sending aid to his homeland.
The case, branded ridiculous by MPs, will be funded entirely by the public even though the farmer has never set foot in this country.
The 33-year-old Ethiopian – granted anonymity to protect his family – says ministers are funding a one-party state in his country that has breached his human rights. He says foreign aid helped the regime inflict ‘brutal treatment’ on thousands of farmers driven from their land, against the International Development Act 2002.
Taxpayers will pay for both the farmer’s lawyers and a defence team from the Department for International Development, in a case that could cost tens of thousands of pounds. This is in addition to the £1.3billion Britain has sent to Ethiopia since 2010.
In fairness to the government the guy got his case in before they changed the rules, yet even so you have to wonder other than greed what the hell the legal profession were thinking even allowing such a case.
It does throw up two issues though, the legal profession throwing away our cash on frivolous cases and the government throwing away our cash on foreign kleptocracies who basically use it to line their own pockets as very little seems to manage to get down to helping ordinary people.
Essentially we don't need to be spending taxpayers cash on things that are of no benefit to taxpayers. If people want to assist the downtrodden of the Earth that's their choice and should be done via real charities, not the government deciding which foreign potentates pension fund they are lining. Nor should legal aid be for anyone other than UK citizens, not EU citizens and definitely not foreigners who have never set foot here. Granted a barrister or solicitor should be available as court appointed should you need a defence, but only if you're here in person other than that, no. Nor was the no win, no fee idea such a great one either, it's just hiked up insurance premiums across the UK and made organisations risk averse.
As to what we should do? I don't know, but there's a reason a lot of revolutions begin with a massive cull of lawyers...

2 annotations:

Mr. Morden said...

They are all lawyers.

StourbridgeRantBoy said...

Do'nt you mean liars?

Laurie -