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Newcastle Lawyer of the year takes Government to task over legal aid at UN in Geneva

A human rights lawyer who took her fight to the United Nations claims the Government lied about cuts to legal aid.

Family law expert Cris McCurley, a partner at Newcastle solicitors Ben Hoare Bell, has spent the past twenty years tackling some of the country’s trickiest cases on child abduction, domestic abuse and forced marriage.

And following Government cut-backs to legal aid – which the Ministry of Justice continue to claim are legal – she was instrumental in a campaign to prove the Government’s actions are a breach of international law.

After giving evidence in Geneva in person, Cris – who was named the Law Society’s Lawyer of the Year for her work – has said the British Government must respond to the UN’s recommendations for change by next year.

Cris, and other colleagues who gave evidence to the organisation, want all victims of abuse to have access to legal aid as well as stopping the current system whereby women must pay to get letters from police and doctors that prove they have been abused.

Across the country cuts to legal aid have so far seen a dramatic rise in people representing themselves in the court room, as well as two high profile walkouts by barristers and solicitors.

Cris said: “One of the reasons why I’m so incensed about it is because there’s been so many lies told by the Government. Call me naive, but I find that shocking.


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