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Legal aid reforms scrapped by Michael Gove

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A major restructuring of the criminal legal aid system in England and Wales has been scrapped, Justice Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed.


Mr Gove said he had "decided not to go ahead" with plans to cut duty solicitor contracts at police stations and magistrates' courts by two thirds.


He also suspended for 12 months a second 8.75% cut in legal aid fees.


Labour shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer said the government's plans had "descended into utter chaos".


The proposed cuts - drawn up by former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling - would have reduced the number of legal aid contracts from 1,600 to 527.


However, Mr Gove said there were "real problems" in pressing ahead with the proposals.



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I think I agree there were some changes required to the Legal Aid system, but the way the government has gone about it is wrong.




Since being established in 1949, legal aid has grown into a £2billion-a-year industry far removed from its original, noble, purpose of providing Britain’s poor with access to justice.


For precious little is now off limits to taxpayer-funded assistance.


Immigrants who have never set foot in the UK appealing against visa decisions... prisoners claiming their bed is too hard, or that it is unfair to make them give up hard-drugs in jail.


An army of 15,000 barristers (up from 2,000 in 1960) is ever willing to help them, growing nicely plump in the process.


Meanwhile, ambulance chasing solicitors lodge compensation claims in their thousands, in the knowledge that, if successful, they could claim vast sums from the defendant.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1329896/Kenneth-Clarke-An-overdue-end-abuse-legal-aid.html#ixzz3yZCgasMT





Article from 2010

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What happens to those that cannot get represented in Court? Looks really bad.

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'Calls to reveal how much public money was spent on abandoned proposals to reform legal aid have been rejected by a justice minister....Labour has called on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to refer itself to the National Audit Office over the issue...It also demanded an apology to those adversely affected...'





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