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Legal aid: High Court rejects legal challenge by charities over cuts

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge against government legal-aid cuts brought by two charities, the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prisoners' Advice Service, reports the BBC.

The two charities had asked the High Court for a full judicial review into the Government's cut to legal aid for prisoners, which came into force last December, a move which they feel causes unfair suffering to vulnerable inmates.

Ministers have previously argued that the cuts were necessary to avoid pointless legal cases being brought by prisoners. The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the cuts would remove 11,000 cases from the court schedule and save the taxpayer £4m per year.

The two charities believe the changes are unfair, and hoped the High Court would agree with their argument, forcing the Government to rethink.

However, Mr Justice Cranston and Lady Justice Rafferty said whilst they understood the charities' concerns, they could not see how the changes amounted to an unlawful action to justify a judicial review.

"We simply cannot see, at least at this point in time, how these concerns can arguably constitute unlawful action by the Lord Chancellor," said the judges.

The judges added that the charities' best course of redress was through political rather than legal means.

Responding to the judgment, the Prisoner Advice Service said they were disappointed.

"[We are] deeply disappointed with this judgment, which fails to respond to the increased unfairness prisoners now face as a result of the latest round of legal aid cuts," they said.

The Howard League for Prison Reform argued that the cuts would not save money, because they will lead to prisoners spending longer in prison.

Both charities have said they will appeal.