MOJ Accelerated Proposals for Criminal Legal aid – 3rd March 2020
The Ministry of Justice has now published a consultation on accelerated changes to the public funding arrangements for Criminal Legal Aid . This follows from on going work which continues in designing a new scheme for public funding which is intended to provide a long term sustainable scheme for public funding for criminal legal aid .
The proposals which can be accessed here : https://consult.justice.gov.uk/criminal-legal-aid/criminal-legal-aid-review/
The Law Society has issued the Following Statement https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/press-releases/be-prepared-for-justice-to-fall-apart/
Law Society president Simon Davis said: “We have warned time and again that the very existence of criminal defence practitioners is under threat. Unless the package is adjusted to address the depth and urgency of this crisis, then extinction may be firmly on the horizon.
“There are increasingly large areas of the country where there are no defence solicitors available. The very notion of British justice is in jeopardy – with victims left in limbo and the accused potentially deprived of a fair trial.
“Not only will the shortage of practitioners lead to injustice; it is economically unsound. Defence lawyers help ensure the justice system runs efficiently – and in doing so, save the taxpayer money.”
The closure of Carter Moore this month – the latest in a growing number of significant firms to shut its doors – is further evidence that the profession cannot wait. Our heatmap shows how the numbers of criminal duty solicitors are diminishing.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has recently received an interim increase of 10% for prosecutors – worth up to £85m - with a promise of annual reviews. In contrast, the defence has not received an increase in 25 years. In real terms, these measures do not even restore the position for litigators at the time the review was announced in 2018.
Simon Davis continued: “The offer on the table from the government is woefully inadequate. It cannot hope to provide a solution.
Please therefore take time to respond to this important consultation .