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We’ve just passed ten years since the LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act) reforms were implemented, and it is hard to believe that we have also seen 10 appointments to the role of Justice Secretary, since that legislation was passed in 2012.

Even taking into account the broader political turmoil that seems to be the new normal, this is some record.

The latest incumbent, Alex Chalk KC, has already surpassed the 49 days that Liz Truss appointee Brandon Lewis held the post, and seems better equipped than many of his predecessors to take on the considerable challenges facing the justice system.

On a list that includes seriously dilapidated court buildings, a backlog of 60,000 criminal cases in the Crown Court alone, and a dysfunctional Legal Aid system that is barely worthy of the name, the outstanding employment tribunal caseload won’t be his highest priority, but the companies and employees waiting more than a year for even a preliminary hearing, are being badly let down.

ARAG’s underwriting director, Dave Haynes, took part in a roundtable discussion at the Law Society to mark the LASPO anniversary, at which participants from all parts of the legal sector exchanged views on the legacy of that legislation, and the various changes that have been introduced since.

As most sources of legal support for families and small businesses have been steadily dismantled, legal expenses insurance has become more and more important. This is one of several key points made in an important whitepaper recently produced by ACSO (the Association of Consumer Support Organisations).

ARAG is proud to be a founding member of this vital organisation and I’m pleased that we were able to support the research that went into the report.

One of the legal resources available to the public that has suffered most in recent years is the network of Law Centres. Despite the critical work they do in providing advice and access to justice for those who would have no other recourse, the past decade has seen more than half of such facilities forced to close.

This is one of the reasons we selected Bristol Law Centre to be our charity of the year. As well as collaborating with them on some fundraising initiatives, like the combined team we recently entered in Bristol’s Dragonboat Festival, we’ll also be providing some practical support to the Law Centre throughout 2023.

We’re happy to be in a position to give something back to our local community, after another successful year. The financial results for 2022 that we’ve just published show strong growth and a modest profit for ARAG in the UK, which is a similar story to the global ARAG Group.

Our sustained success has enabled us to invest heavily in our digital infrastructure, in recent years. Almost every team in the business has contributed to a series of projects that have delivered significant benefits to our business partners and their clients alike.

I’m personally very proud of the work that everyone has put in, not just to building ARAG in the UK, but in supporting the founding principle of extending access to justice, on which our organisation has been built.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.