legal aid

Comment on Justice and Home Secretary appointments

Commenting on the appointment of Liz Truss as Justice Secretary our Director, Richard Garside, said:

Liz Truss' predecessor, Michael Gove, seems destined to go down as the great prison reformer whose career was ended before he had time to disappoint prison reformers.

Regardless of the balance sheet on his time in office, the appointment of Liz Truss affords a welcome opportunity for a rethink of his plans for "Reform Prisons".

Violence in court. Judges blame legal aid cuts

The Guardian reports on a written submission to MPs by the Judicial Executive Board, which blames legal aid cuts for outbreaks of courtoom violence.

The Board, made up of the most senior judges in England and Wales, highlights an increase in the number of 'litigants in person' – individuals appearing in court with no legal representation – due to legal aid cuts. In its submission the Board writes:

Legal aid cost claims challenged

The Bar Council, the professional association for barristers in England and Wales, has challenged the Justice Secretary's claims on the costs of legal aid.

During a recent appearance before the House of Commons Justice Committee Chris Graying, the Justice Secretary, claimed that the 'typical payment' to a senior barrister for a high cost case would be 'around £135,000'.

Chair of the Bar Council Maura McGowan has challenged Mr Grayling's figures, claiming the real amount is around £20,000.

Scrapping of lowest bidder

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said proposals to award legal aid contracts to the lowest bidders have been scrapped. This follows criticisms that it would reduce justice to a "factory mentality".

Mr Grayling has ditched the proposals after drawing up the government's latest legal aid reforms with the support of the Law Society.

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