LEGAL AID BUDGET CUTS UPDATE
On the 5th September the Justice secretary announced cost cutting reforms for the criminal legal aid in order to continue his plans to cut the legal aid budget by £220 million.
The ministry of Justice has scrapped their plans of introducing price competitive tendering which would have made law firms intending to do criminal legal work to bid for a contract from the Legal Aid Agency. Needless to say, the minister of Justice has proposed a new six week consultation with solicitors that will propose that those solicitors who currently do criminal legal aid work for their own clients can continue to do so as long as they continue to adhere to minimum requirements.
The ministry of Justice is also seeking to ascertain views from solicitors in the consultation about introducing a new system for a second tender for a limited number of contracts to be awarded for solicitors to do duty solicitor work. The requirement to do such work will be based upon ‘capability and capacity’ which still leaves questions as to whether larger firms with more duty solicitors will be more capable to carry out more duty solicitor work than law firms with less duty solicitors. Nevertheless, fee cuts for criminal legal aid solicitors will come into place as of February 2014, and the ministry of Justice will proceed to get rid of legal aid for prisoners.
THE NSOCA FILLS THE GAP IN LEGAL AID CUTS
We at the New Societe Organisation of Caribbean ‘Cultural’ Affairs still maintain that a lot of law firms within the Caribbean community will no longer provide assistance with legally aided matters because of the cuts in legal aid. We have a legal surgery at our offices that provides confidential advice in areas such as criminal law, housing matters, employment law, debt matters, divorce, family law and immigration matters. We have an experienced legal team that can provide you with a first class service.
If you need any assistance then contact us today at our offices on 0207 733 7337 to book an appointment.