Tag Archive | "the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association"

Justice secretary offers to suspend latest cut in fees


Justice secretary Michael Gove has offered to suspend the latest 8.75% legal aid fee cut imposed on criminal law solicitors.

A second 8.75% fee cut was introduced on 1 July, which prompted thousands of solicitors to boycott legal aid work under the new rate. The boycott was called off in August.

Gove’s conciliatory gesture follows a fresh round of talks last week between Ministry of Justice officials, the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA), the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA). and the Big Firms Group. A member of the Criminal Bar Association attended as an observer. Read the full story

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Declining crime rates to cut legal aid bill


The Law Society, the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group and the Big Firms Group have clubbed together and commissioned new research into legal aid expenditure forecasts. The research, carried out by Oxford Economics, shows that the Ministry of Justice could stand to make two thirds of its £120m savings being demanded from the work carried out by solicitors and barristers in the criminal legal aid system without implementing the proposed cuts.

Assuming a continuation of the steady decade-long downward trend in crime, the research suggests Legal Aid expenditure could be £84m lower by 2018/19 than it would otherwise have been, without the damaging cuts that are being proposed. The research also maintains that the belated impact of past reforms is still delivering further reductions in legal aid costs, some of which the department may not have taken into account. The projected decrease in spending of £84m could be even higher.

Des Hudson, the Law Society’s chief executive, said: “The expenditure on criminal cases has not risen in two decades and is set to shrink further following more fee cuts. Additional cuts proposed in the latest plans could have a devastating impact on access to justice and many legal aid solicitors have already reached the point of despair.

“We are proposing a better way forward, so that our members may continue to uphold the rule of law and provide access to justice to the public. We will all be poorer if confidence in our criminal justice system falls.”

Carol Storer, director of Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group, said: “This report provides the clearest evidence yet that the cost of legal aid in the police station, magistrates and crown courts is already falling significantly. Indeed, the Legal Aid Agency’s business plan for 2013-14 predicts that spend will be reduced to £1,828m, a reduction of 7.7% from the previous year.”
Nicola Hill, president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, said: “What you see clearly with this independent report by reputable economists is that the Government’s numbers just don’t stack up. The Lord Chancellor claims £120m needs to be saved from the criminal legal aid budget. This report shows quite clearly that substantial amounts (two thirds, in fact) could be saved from the criminal defence budget simply by doing nothing at all.”

Bill Waddington, chairman of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, said that “the full impact of the cuts already imposed have yet to work through the system and due to continuing falling volumes the MOJ has no need at all for any cuts,” and Franklin Sinclair of the Big Firms’ Group, said: “there is simply no need for a savage 17.5 per cent cut for the MoJ to achieve its budget target.”

The ‘Guardian’ reports that an MoJ spokesperson said: “We believe the analysis on which the report is based leads to inaccuracies. If we had used this methodology in past years, we would have repeatedly overspent on our litigation legal aid budget.”

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