Polling shows public lack confidence in justice system

24 November 2015

Polling results in the Citizens Advice report, Responsive justice: How citizens experience the justice system, show that voters lack confidence in our legal system and have concerns over access to justice.

Chairman-elect of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said:"Today's report from Citizen's Advice will make uncomfortable reading for those holding the justice budget purse strings. It shows that voters are not satisfied with our system of justice or their ability to access it when in need. If further cuts are planned for the Autumn Statement, the question will be; how do we make sure access to justice is not restricted even further?"

The Citizens Advice report cites that 68% of people think there should be better access to the courts and the same number think you need to be rich to afford to pursue justice and exercise your rights.

Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said:"The idea that people who need to use the courts are being subsidised by the tax-payer is completely wrong. It is because citizens have access to justice that big businesses pay their small firm suppliers in good time, that parents can get the right pay and leave from their employers, and that elderly people get the care to which they are entitled. When people use the courts and other legal avenues to enforce the law, it helps to ensure that we all play by the rules. Without access to justice, everyone will suffer because the rules will cease to matter."

According to Citizens Advice polling, only 14% of people surveyed thought they could manage if they had to represent themselves in court. When asked what support people would find most useful, 'by far the most popular choice was that everybody, regardless of their income, should be able to see a lawyer without cost at least once.'[1]

Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said: "It is not surprising that what most people want when they have a legal problem is to know that, whatever their income, they will be able to get access to a lawyer."


Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board