Legal Aid U-Turn Means Defendants Will Be Able To Choose Their Solicitor

There is a great probability that legal aid defendants in criminal cases would not be able to choose their own lawyer for the future. If they want they can also go for a fixed-fee legal advice online.

This plan appeared as an opposition to the idea of the justice secretary to cut legal aid.

In the words of Chris Grayling money could be saved as young and inexperienced lawyers are hired for legal aid cases. This meant that taxpayers would not keep on paying for a “legal ‘Rolls-Royce’” to defend the people who receive legal aid.

Critics, on the other hand, claim that less experienced solicitors could harm justice seriously.

However, critics pointed out that this would leave legal aid defendants in their access to justice.

Last Thursday Tory MPs declared that the state should be banned to choose a defendant’s solicitor or barrister.

The Commons Justice Committee chairman received a letter from Mr. Grayling in which he claimed he was ready to reconsider part of his plans on legal aid only if these could help to reduce legal aid spending.

“The rationale for proposing this change was to give greater certainty of case volume for providers, making it easier and more predictable for them to organise their businesses,” he wrote.

“However, I have heard clearly from the Law Society and other respondents that they regard client choice as fundamental to the effective delivery of criminal legal aid.”

He added he would think carefully once more and define whether clients receiving criminal legal aid have to be allowed to choose a solicitor or not.

The Law Society and Bar Council were both pleasantly surprised by the news.

 

More Legal Aid Cuts – New Changes Planned

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.