As the government aims at slashing a further £220m from the cost of criminal legal aid today they launched a new consultation.
It turned out that the legal aid changes introduced by the LASPO Act were not enough so now the government is about to put forward plans according to which the access of prisoners to legal aid will be more limited and people with income of over £37,500 will not receive legal aid automatically. The good news is that The Legal Stop will continue to supply you with high quality employment documents.
The new plans will make convicted criminals repay the costs for their defense with deductions from the money they are going to earn in future, in case they work in accordance with the employment legislation and have an employment contract.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the notion: “Those who live outside the law should pay the consequences both through being punished and bearing more of the costs they impose on society. That is why we are exploring ways to make criminals pay towards the cost of their prosecution to the court.”
Another proposal that was announced is that legal aid contracts should be introduced, as the government presumes that this will reduce the number of firms which provide these services.
The intention of the government is to limit the number of law firms which offer such assistance as now it is about 1,600.
However the Law Society of England and Wales opposed to this suggestion. According to Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff ”It will take much longer to do properly,…and if it’s not done properly then we are going to end up with miscarriages of justice, with people being stuck in prison far longer than they should be on remand, with witnesses not turning up, with cases not being properly prepared. It’s a huge, huge risk.”
This was not the only proposal she was worried about. In her words immigrants should not be denied legal aid as this should not be a thing which depended on the status of a certain person in the country but on their needs.