Fewer claims for legal aid when dealing with government organisations
In the last two years, the number of times people have required legal assistance due to a public administration problem has gone down by 10%, writes Sander Dekker, Minister for Legal Protection, in the progress report on legal aid reform.
"The fact that fewer people needed a lawyer to help them in dealing with the government and public authorities is wonderful news. We are bringing back the human element and reducing unnecessary juridification.¨
The legal aid reform plans are centred on the resolution of (legal) problems: fewer proceedings, better solutions. The legal profession has repeatedly made clear in recent years that government organisations must also take a critical look at themselves, since people who rely on assistance provided by a lawyer are too often faced with an inflexible government seemingly uninterested in problem-solving.
In response to this signal, the minister has made changing the attitude of government organisations in contacts with citizens with a (legal) problem one of the three key elements in his plans for reforming the system for subsidized legal aid. This is a formidable undertaking.
The progress report on the reform plans highlights the improvements that have been made in the past few years. A shared commitment has enabled the plans to deliver the first results.
One of the assumptions at the start of the overhaul of the system was that a 10% reduction in the number of legal-aid cases in administrative law matters should be achievable between 2017, when the new government took office, and 2024, once the reform plans have been implemented. There has been a clear decrease in the number of legal-aid cases in administrative law matters, from more than 61,000 approved cases in 2017 to nearly 55,000 in 2019, a reduction of more than 10%. The achievement of the stated ambition provides grounds for it to be revised upwards.