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Government scraps legal aid reforms

Lawyers protest

Picture caption

Lawyers had protested and long past on strike based on the planned cuts

A Major restructuring of the Felony legal help device in England and Wales has been scrapped, Justice Secretary Michael Gove has demonstrated.

Mr Gove stated he had “decided to not go in advance” with plans to chop Accountability solicitor contracts at police stations and magistrates’ courts Via two thirds.

He additionally suspended for One Year a 2d 8.Seventy Five% lower in criminal aid fees.

Labour shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer said The Government’s plans had “descended into utter chaos”.

The proposed cuts – drawn up By Using former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – would have lowered the selection of felony assist contracts from 1,600 to 527.

Alternatively, Mr Gove mentioned there have been “actual problems” in urgent in advance with the proposals.


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By BBC felony affairs correspondent Clive Coleman

“Duty” work at police stations and magistrates courts is prized as a result of it provides solicitors with purchasers.

The reform was designed to consolidate the profession and reach economies of scale By decreasing the choice of contracts from 1,600 to around 500. Firms took section in an in depth procurement course of to win one.

Amidst controversy and allegations of ineptitude from a whistleblower, some succeeded, many failed, leading to Ninety Nine separate legal challenges.

Citing those, and a settlement from the Treasury that provides him extra flexibility, Mr Gove says he does not want the criminal help market to face years of uncertainty and dear litigation, so he is ditching the policy.

It Can Be yet any other U-activate a coverage of his predecessor Chris Grayling, following those on restricting books for prisoners, building a stable faculty for young offenders and scrapping of the contentious Prison courts cost.

Legal Professionals teams are delighted. Relations between Mr Gove and Mr Grayling? Most Definitely icy.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) presently faces 99 separate felony challenges, Mr Gove mentioned in a written ministerial observation.

“My resolution is driven in part By Way Of the recognition that the litigation will probably be time-consuming and costly for all events, whatever the result,” he said.

“I are not looking for my division and the prison assist market to face months if not years of continuing uncertainty, and expensive litigation, while it’s heard.”

‘Doomed endeavour’

Solicitors’ associations had adversarial the reforms to criminal help, warning the so-referred to as “twin contracting” machine and reducing the choice of contracts would result in insufficient access to felony recommendation for defendants.

A criminal problem to the reforms was heard in the Excessive Courtroom remaining yr – ruling in the Executive’s favour.

On The Other Hand, Lord Falconer said the MoJ had been instructed the policy “could be a catastrophe”.

“This Can Be A spectacular admission from the Tory Government and represents a ultimate confirmation that their plans to reform Prison criminal support have descended into utter chaos,” he said.

“The Federal Government should now come clean about how a lot public money has been wasted on this doomed endeavour, so that ministers can be held absolutely accountable for this fiasco.”

Mark Fenhalls QC, of the Criminal Bar Association, stated it had been the appropriate decision to desert the “fallacious plans”.

An MoJ spokesman mentioned the uk’s felony aid device was once “still one of the crucial generous in the world”, and spent £1.6bn on prison aid closing year – nearly a quarter of its departmental budget.

“The spending review contract now we have reached with the Treasury for the next five years leaves criminal aid nearly untouched,” he mentioned.

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