Only a quarter of the population believe the UK’s legal system is ‘fair and transparent’, according to a survey published by a London law firm.

More than 50% felt the system was inaccessible and two thirds believed that wealth was the most important factor in gaining access to justice.

The poll of more than 2,000 people carried out for Hodge Jones & Allen also revealed that only 37% trusted professionals working in the legal system.

On a more positive note, just over 70% said better education in legal matters would improve access to justice and a similar percentage felt that legal matters should be taught in primary and secondary schools.

Patrick Allen, senior partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, said: ‘These statistics represent a damning indictment of the British justice system.

‘If millions of people across the country are intimidated, alienated and confused by the prospect of seeking justice in 21st-century Britain then we should consider our legal system to have failed in its fundamental duty to provide justice for all.’

Meanwhile, separate research from Citizens Advice showed that 70% of the population would be unable to afford a lawyer if they needed help with a legal problem.

The survey of more than 2,000 people found that almost 70% said they would feel uncomfortable talking to a lawyer and only about half thought they would be treated with dignity and respect if they had to go to court.

Around a third thought they would not get the opportunity for their voice to be heard in court and under 40% believed the justice system was working well.