Promoting social inclusion through access to legal services
A Legal Services Commission case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Over the last 25 years the UK government has changed substantially the way in which it manages its economic and social role. For example, it now owns very few manufacturing or service industries as many public corporations have been privatised.

Although a smaller proportion of people work directly for the Government and in the public sector, it continues to play an important part in regulating activities. The Government does this by creating contracts with terms that determine how various private firms conduct business on the Government's behalf.

This case study looks at how the Government has created the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to manage and ensure the best possible provision of legal services to the public.

The LSC's role is to administer legal aid in England and Wales through its two schemes.

The Community Legal Service (CLS) helps people who are eligible for legal aid to protect their rights. It funds a network of Quality Marked solicitors, Citizens Advice Bureaux and other advice providers to help people who need advice about relationship breakdown or problems with debt, housing, domestic violence and benefits. Help is also available about asylum and immigration, education, employment, mental health and community care. Help available ranges from information leaflets and directing people to other relevant services, to specialist advice and taking cases to court where necessary.

The Criminal Defence Service (CDS) helps people who are under investigation or facing criminal charges by ensuring that people accused of a crime have access to legal advice and representation.

The CDS also helps the police and courts operate fairly and efficiently:

  • ensuring that every UK citizen has access to quality legal services
  • ensuring that people get the information, advice and legal help required to deal with a wide range of everyday problems.

Its work is a good example of how government regulates the provision of essential services designed to help vulnerable people, advance social inclusion and promote people's access to their fundamental rights.

Legal Services Commission | Promoting social inclusion through access to legal services