Save UK Justice
"Ministry of Justice Consultation:
Transforming Legal Aid:
Delivering a more credible and efficient system."
The Government's latest proposals are likely to fundamentally and irreversibly change the Justice System and are relevant to anyone involved in or concerned about 'justice' - family law or otherwise. Find out how and what you can do to have a say in the proposals.There is detailed information on this page about the proposals, including a detailed Briefing Document, links to petitions, press articles, blogs, websites and details of how to contact your MP.
In summary the proposed changes means that:
• You will not be able to choose the lawyer who represents you
• You will not be able to choose a lawyer with a good reputation
• You will not be able to change your lawyer
• Your legal representative will be rewarded financially for agreeing with the case against you
• Less qualified individuals will handle cases involving crime and family law
• Thousands of small firms will go out of business and tax payers money handed to big businesses and corporations
Below is a Briefing Document prepared for a meeting that took place at LIverpool County Court to discuss the proposals. Below that is a table with useful links and resources on the issue, including links to ePetitions you can sign.
Resources and Links
"Save UK Justice Petition
Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
The MOJ should not proceed with their plans to reduce access to justice by depriving citizens of legal aid or the right to representation by the Solicitor of their choice."
Link to Save UK Justice Petition
"We are calling on the Ministry of Justice to reconsider its plans to introduce Price Competitive Tendering for criminal legal aid. We believe that people should be entitled to choose a lawyer to represent them based on quality, not just be allocated one on the basis of whoever can do the job for the lowest price.
As the Chairman of the Bar Council, I know that we have a legal system which is respected all over the world. These proposals will damage that beyond repair and hit the diversity of the legal profession hard. Cut price justice is no justice at all."
Link to 38 Degrees Petition
Click on the underlined links for related press article
Chris Grayling's proposed reforms to legal aid undermine the foundations of British justice
31 May 2013: The Telegraph
Fears legal aid cuts will lead to innocent being wrongly convicted
21 May 2013: The Telegraph
Survey finds two in three people oppose legal aid cuts
21 May 2013: The Independent
Legal Aid Cuts Will Leave Wrongly Accused Under Pressure To Plead Guilty To Save Costs
21 May 2013: The Huffington post
Public fear legal aid cuts will lead to wrongful convictions, poll finds
21 May 2013: The Guardian
Legal aid cuts 'disaster' for black Londoners, warns lawyer for Stephen Lawrence's family
20 May 2013: The London Evening Standard
Legal watchdog warns budget cuts will damage justice
20 May 2013: The Guardian
Government must preserve the right of clients to choose own defence lawyer
20 May 2013 - Legal Services Consumer Panel
Grayling Defends Legal Aid Cuts
19 May 2013: The Times - This is the article where Chris Grayling says that people involved in the Criminal Justice Syatem are too thick to pick their own lawyers.
Top judge warns Government's legal aid reforms could bring meltdown
19 May 2013: Plans to reform legal aid will be “absolutely devastating” for Britain’s legal system and result in dangerous miscarriages of justice, a former senior judge warned last night - The Express
Taxpayer overcharged by millions for electronic tagging
19 May 2013: Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has launched an urgent investigation into G4S and Serco, the private security operators, after they were found to have been overpaid for running electronic tagging schemes by millions of pounds. These companies like them have expressed an interest in bidding for legal advice contacts under the proposed Ministry of Justice scheme. - The Telegraph
Also see, from the same date Ministry of Justice brings in auditors to investigate tagging contracts - the Guardian.
MPs may get £10k pay rise: But they say: 'It's not snouts in the trough - if you pay peanuts you get monkeys'
19th May 2013: The Daily Mail and see also Sky News here.
Cut-Price Justice: The Government’s attack on Legal Aid must be stopped
17 May 2013 - Ceasefire
We're All Trucked!
14 May 2013: The 'Justice' Secretary's ill-thought-through plans of Legal Aid - Private Eye
Undermine Legal Aid and you put our entire justice system at risk
14 May 2013: Now top legal talent will find the prospect of working in criminal courts less attractive - The Independent
Blur drummer who trained as solicitor attacks government's legal aid plans
11 May 2013: David Rowntree criticises proposals after it emerges Eddie Stobart haulage firm is to bid for contract - The Guardian
Privatised justice is no justice at all
11 May 2013: Nina Power: Chris Grayling's radical changes to legal aid could mean being represented by the same company that jails you - The Guardian
No justice in legal aid changes
9 May 2013: The state will prosecute a man and give him a lawyer from the company that agreed to provide one at the lowest cost. If this was happening in a far-flung nation we would mock it as undemocratic - The Guardian
Legal aid cuts risks damaging civilised society, warns senior judge ...
9 May 2013: Cuts to legal aid risk damaging the “essence of civilised society” the country’s highest judge warned as he said everyone should have access to justice - The Telegraph
Legal aid tendering: will it actually work?
8 May 2013: Joshua Rozenberg: The MoJ's public consultations on legal aid reforms show they are open-minded, but if the aim remains to reduce spending, what about the cost to justice? - The Guardian
Eddie Stobart drives into legal aid row
8 May 2013: Haulage firm arm bids for controversial contracts to provide lawyers in criminal trials amid protests from legal profession - The Guardian
New legal aid reforms end 'justice for all', lawyers warn
28 April 2013: Under plans to save £200m solicitors will be paid fixed fees, with contracts going to firms like G4S - The Independent
Danger alert over legal aid auction
28 April 2013: Controversial legal aid reforms will affect the international reputation of Britain’s courts and the quality of service they provide, ministers have been warned - The Express
It doesn’t take a lawyer to realise this attack on legal aid will have a deleterious effect on justice
28 April 2013: Chris Grayling wants to shave £200m off the legal aid budget. Having made the decision to cut, the law of unintended consequences comes into play - The Independent
Assessing the justice of claims over legal aid cuts
25 Apr 2013: The legal profession believes that client choice is the best way of ensuring standards remain high - The Guardian
How the Ministry of Justice’s proposal for the tendering of criminal legal aid is misconceived and illiberal
23 April 2013: This is a flawed proposal which will have highly damaging effects - The Spectator
High Street solicitors could be forced to close by Government legal aid changes
21 April 2013: More than 1,500 High Street solicitors will be forced to close branches “within a year” if the Government’s controversial legal aid reform plans succeed - The Express
Barrister warns over legal aid cuts
8 April 2013: A leading barrister says cuts in legal aid provision mean that the Government no longer adequately funds the justice system - The Express
Students to lay down a cheaper law
7 April 2013: Law students are being drafted in to help people hit by cuts in legal aid. They will assist with paperwork and offer guidance now funds are no longer available for a wide range of civil matters including divorce and social welfare issues - The Express
Legal aid cuts 'will create advice deserts'
1 Apr 2013: Cutting £350m from legal aid budget will leave vulnerable people struggling to find help, according to survey - The Guardian
Our justice system is being turned into Profit & Growth plc
1 Apr 2013: Sarah Vine: Under Chris Grayling's plans, lawyers will become unit-shifters employed by large corporations - The Guardian
Warning over legal aid changes
1 April 2013Solicitors have warned that people could start "taking the law into their own hands" as changes to legal aid come into force and remove swathes of areas of law from its scope - The Express
Peer's fury as legal aid cuts affect 500,000
29 March 2013: The Government's legal aid reforms coming into effect on Monday have been branded a "day of shame for our legal system" by the former minister and Labour peer Lord Bach - The Independent
Legal aid cuts force closure of almost a third of Shelter offices
11 Mar 2013: Cuts an 'assault on family life' as British Red Cross culls expert advice and while Citizen Advice bureaux make staff redundant - The Guardian
UK law is a booming export but at home crime work doesn't pay
7 Feb 2013: While financial law mushrooms, legal aid cuts are threatening basic access to the system and the future of high street solicitors - The Guardian
The Law Society Gazette
The Law Society Gazette carries numerous articles on the issue, too numerous to list here.
There are articles in 'The Times' however as this is a subscription service they cannot be read without paying for them!
List of Blogs and Websites
If you only read one Blog on the issue, read this one:
A Barrister's Wife - A behind closed doors view of the justice system
A very funning letter to the Lord Chancellor, praising him for the reforms…
A good article on why all lawyers should sign the petition
A blog with many articles about why the 'reforms' are an attack on everyone
Justice Grayling Style - a brilliant spoof on what it would be like under the current proposals
Is Mr Grayling’s Legal Aid Consultation Genuine Or A Sham? Ask An Interpreter - good, brief article comparing what a mess the MOJ has made with interpreter services with what they propose for crime.
The 'Save Legal Aid' campaign set put by Young Legal Aid Lawyers
Letter to the times from legal academics
Good ‘blog’ about what is happening and open letter to the Parliamentary Justice Committee
Guy Gozem QC
Alison Gurden: What Does it Mean to the Person on the Street
Solicitor in the North East
CLSA Vice Chair
Matthew Claughton - Letter to The Times – Published
Tim McArdle’s spoof letter to Chris Grayling
Matthew Claughton - Letter to Guardian - Published
David Philpott’s letter to local MP, George Osborne (Download)
Matthew Claughton - Letter to the Telegraph (Download)
The Save UK Justice Website
The Save UK Justice Shop - badges, t-shirts etc.
Contacting your MP
You can find out the address and contact details for your MP here:
Write to the Parliamentary Justice Committee
The members of the Committee are:
o Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith (Chair)
o Steve Brine
o Jeremy Corbyn
o Rehman Chishti
o Nick de Bois
o Gareth Johnson
o Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd
o Seema Malhotra
o Andy McDonald
o Yasmin Qureshi
o Graham Stringer
o Mike Weatherley
They can all be written to at The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
Write to the Minister of State for Justice
The Rt Hon. the Lord McNally
House of Lords
Write to the Children and Families Minister
Edward Timpson MP
30 Victoria Street The House of Commons
CW1 2JE SW1A 0AA
Using Big Companies to Provide Legal Services
The Government's plans for the Justice System are underway. They use large companies to provide other services. Take a look at the articles below to see how well that have gone thus far…
Monitoring of Criminals
- Probation Service
• Probation Service - Channel 4
• Gag on Probation Officers
• Gag on Probation Officers
• Daily Mail
• The Express
• The Standard
• One Small Window
• The Law Gazette
• The Law Gazette
• The Daily Mail
• First they came for…
• Channel 4 News
• Ding murder case judge's anger over interpreter no-show
The Consultation documents can be downloaded here:
Draft Consultation Response
Below is an early draft Consultation Response, which may be helpful for people wishing to complete the consultation document. It will be updated closer to the submission date which is midnight on 4th June 2013.
Draft MOJ Consultation Response -