Second Shots

Here is the CLSA’s response:

Lord Carters direction of travel has today been identified by the Department for Constitutional Affairs as the Way Ahead.
The Criminal Law Solicitors Association, along with other organisations and individuals, submitted a very detailed response to the recent consultation, contributing to the more than 2000 responses received, the vast majority of which cast great doubt on the best value tendering market model upon which hopes are now based.
The CLSA has been campaigning for change to the legal aid system for many years. Lacking long term direction and constantly the undervalued Cinderella of the public sector we have seen a failure to invest in the future result in radically reduced availability of legal advice to the most vulnerable.
Speaking today, CLSA Chair Ian Kelcey said:
Changes must be made across the CJS as a whole to eliminate wasteful operational methods and unnecessary bureaucracy. Steps in that direction would make a real difference. Fixed fees for doing a job where the other parties involved are inefficient or even obstructive are no recipe for a quality legal aid system.
The Lord Chancellor has told solicitors to knuckle down. That is unlikely to encourage practitioners to want to move towards change and may well be seen by the profession as insulting. They are already angry at the disastrous way in which means testing in the magistrates courts has recently been reintroduced.
Mr Kelcey added:
These proposals will not deliver a long term sustainable future for legal aid.

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