Thousands of the most deprived people in Scotland face having to represent themselves in court as a result of a chronic “crisis” in access to legal aid, lawyers have warned.
Calls for the Scottish Government to act have been backed by author and poverty campaigner Darren McGarvey who has said those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are having their “last line of defense pulled away from them”.
The analysis from the Law Society, which represents the legal profession, shows that the 139 most deprived communities in Scotland, resident to around 100,000 people, share just 29 civil legal aid firms between them. There are no civil legal aid firms at all in 122 of the 139 areas.
Of the legal firms in these areas, nearly 90,000 (87064) people are left without any local access at all.
Legal aid for civil court actions is only offered to people with a disposable income of less than £293 per month.
The Law Society has been warned that people now face being forced to represent themselves in divorce proceedings, child custody hearings and immigration hearings.
The campaign has now been backed by Darren McGarvey, author of Poverty Safari.
He said: “Just imagine standing in a courtroom on your own to argue your case, up against an experienced solicitor. Now imagine that the custody of your child is at stake.
“Or a life-changing payout after an industrial accident.
“The absurdity of that proposition, combined with inequalities within the justice, healthcare, and education systems, is