The Ministry of Justice have confirmed they will continue with plans for two-tier contracts for criminal legal aid and will go ahead with a second legal aid cut next summer.
The report confirms that very few changes are to be made to the original proposal with the number of contracts only to be increased from 525 to 527. Office requirements to be relaxed in the split areas and in London to give greater flexibility and there will be provisions for payments for travel over 90 minutes in rural areas.
Shadow Justice Minster Andy Slaughter MP, said:
“This is a slap in the face to legal aid practitioners and is a frankly pathetic response to the consultation. This does nothing to fix the growing crisis in legal aid and only further highlights how the Government are belligerently sticking to their already failing program. Cuts to legal aid have led to justice increasingly becoming a privilege for the wealthy few. This is all the more reason why we need a fresh review into the overall impact of the changes.”
Chris Grayling came under further fire when one of Britain’s top judges, Judge Gordon Risius told his local newspaper that "almost every part of the system” is being damaged by Government cuts.
- Consultation outcome. Transforming legal aid: crime duty contracts -https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/transforming-legal-aid-crime-duty-contracts
- Oxford Mail - Retiring judge fears for the future of the justice system - http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11627797.Retiring_judge_fears_for_the_future_of_the_justice_system/
- MoJ to press ahead with criminal legal aid reforms - http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/moj-to-press-ahead-with-criminal-legal-aid-reforms/5045367.article