CUTBACKS in the legal system are undermining justice in Wales, the Archbishop of Wales has warned.

Archbishop John Davies has warned that cutting resources at a time of increased demand was having a negative impact on people who need legal support.

He said as conditions in some prisons “beggared belief,” and for justice to be administered correctly it needed to be “properly and seriously resourced, decently supported and highly respected.”

The Archbishop was addressing lawyers at a service in Llandaff Cathedral marking the opening of the Legal Year.

He said: “Regrettably, it seems to me, that nowadays many of you are called to undertake these important and noble tasks in a frequently contradictory context, a context of increasing demands, alongside diminishing resources, ever tighter budgets, shrinking entitlement to legal aid, and crumbling infrastructure.


"And by infrastructure I mean not only court buildings, but also some prisons, conditions in which beggar belief, and are an indictment of any society which claims to call itself civilised - prisons in which, if the government has its apparent way, some people will be spending rather more time than at present they might expect.

"That can’t be right. That can’t be just.

"There are pressures on the system and upon those who, like you, try to make it function properly, justly, or at least just adequately. What you do, what you are called to do, what you are required to do is plain - equally plain are the increasing difficulties.”

The Archbishop has previously expressed his views to Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd during the course of his inquiry into the administration of justice in Wales.

Addressing the lawyers at the service, the Archbishop said: “Administering justice is what you do, and you must always strive to get it right.

"In striving to do so, both you and the system of which you are such a vital part deserve to be properly and seriously resourced, decently supported, and highly respected.”