Legal aid change prompts concerns in Wales
Legal professionals in Wales have expressed concerns about reforms to the legal aid system.
UK Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has proposed cutting legal aid by £350m a year by 2015.
But law workers warned it would lead to more expense as people try to conduct their own cases
The Ministry for Justice said it would provide greater certainty and make sure aid can be offered when someone's life or liberty was at stake.
It said it wants to reduce the number of people using the courts by trimming the type of cases it funds through legal aid.
Funding for a wide range of disputes, including some divorce cases and clinical negligence, is to be axed.
It is thought there will be 500,000 fewer civil cases as a result.
Nicola Spalding, from Welshpool, Powys, who has been through a complicated divorce, said without legal aid she would not have been able to afford a solicitor and would have been left penniless.
"Legal aid helped me where it counted and it made life an awful lot easier and it allowed me to get to the position I'm in now," she said.
"When you have got legal backup and support, then you have someone to help you to go between so you don't have to face the person you don't want to face."
The Ministry for Justice has said it wants to introduce an element of competition, with lawyers being able to bid for work.
The UK government has said it hopes this will lead to "cheaper and more efficient justice".
However, Cardiff barrister Andrew Taylor said: "Once we get into this idea saying cheap is best I'm afraid [that] what we'll then have is the young, the inexperienced.
End Quote Ruth Harris Legal executive
I think all they're doing is moving the problem around”
"They will be longer in court, there will be more appeals and there will be more dissatisfaction from the end user, the client in other words, so in other words I don't think this headline figure of £350m passes muster."
Ruth Harris, a Welahpool legal executive, said: "I think all they're doing is moving the problem around.
"The courts are going to be dealing with litigants in person, dealing with courts they don't understand.
"They're not going to be able to put their point across to the court in a way that they want the court to understand, which I think are going to lead to problems in the courts and delays in the courts."
However, Conservative Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns backs the reforms.
He said: "Of course, some of these strongest opponents come from the legal profession whose incomes depend on the money that comes from legal aid so I hardly think they're the most objective people.
"There's a significant amount of waste and a significant amount of expenditure that could be drawn from elsewhere."
A public consultation on the proposals continues until 14 February.