Alex Chalk MP was appointed as a parliamentary under secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice last month (14 February 2020). Among his responsibilities will be the legal aid brief. He is a former vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Legal Aid
and has previously called for the restoration of legal aid for early advice.
Writing on the ConservativeHome website two years ago
, Chalk said that while the government had been ‘forced to respond to the disastrous financial position that they inherited’, there was ‘now a serious concern that, without some steps to restore a measure of access to justice, serious injustice will inevitably follow’. He went on to argue legal aid for early advice should be reinstated because if ‘relatively simple problems are left to escalate’, this leads to larger problems more difficult to deal with. He also stated that it was thought eligibility for legal aid had dropped to less than 20 per cent of the population and ‘the strict financial eligibility requirements for legal aid should be updated’ to ensure more people qualify for assistance.