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UK Government in series of legal aid defeats

28 March 2012

Children would be protected from the UK Government's proposed cuts to the legal aid budget under an amendment against the Government in the House of Lords last night.

Ministers have now suffered a total of 11 defeats in the Upper Chamber on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, the most on a Government bill since the identity cards measure under the last Labour Government.

Last night peers supported an amendment by former paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson to preserve children's legal aid in civil and clinical negligence cases.

Tha Baroness argued that children did not have "the capacity to represent themselves or to interpret the thousands of pages of laws and regulations that affect them".

Another amendment yesterday also protected certain clinical negligence actions.

Peers have previously voted to protect assistance for people facing welfare benefit cuts and victims of domestic violence, among other defeats for the Government.

The amended bill will be returned to the Commons where ministers can try to reverse the changes.

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