Bar Council comment on MoJ Criminal Legal Aid response
Commenting on the Government’s response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review and consultation on policy proposals, Chair of the Bar Mark Fenhalls KC, said:
“The criminal justice system only works when the whole system works. Our solicitor colleagues are clear that this announcement risks significant flight from criminal legal aid by solicitors which would leave the system in danger of collapse. At the same time we wait to learn whether the Government will increase prosecution fees in line with defence fees. There is already a capacity crunch with too few people willing to undertake criminal work and no one wants to return to the days where barristers decline to prosecute where they have a choice.
“Everyone understands the financial difficulties facing the country, but we know from previous budget cuts that failure to invest properly strips away experience and skill and damages the public interest, storing up greater expense for the future.”