The Government wants to reduce unnecessary costs and make sure that legal aid helps those who need it the most, Justice Minister Lord McNally said in a speech at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum.
At the conference, attended by a mix of professionals with an interest in the future of law in the UK, Lord McNally focused on the future of the legal aid scheme in England and Wales.
He said the Government’s consultation is looking at a number of different ways to bring current legal aid spending under control including:
- cutting the costs of Very High Cost Cases by a third
- bringing in competition for advice and representation outside Crown Court advocacy to improve efficiency and allow providers to determine the best price for their services
- ensuring that those who can afford to pay for their legal costs aren’t routinely in receipt of public money
Lord McNally said:
“This Government is transforming the justice system, we’re transforming rehabilitation, transforming the experience of young offenders in custody and transforming the criminal justice system so that victims are put first. Our legal aid reforms are part of that transformation.
“The process of reform we’ve started along means inevitably that the legal profession is going to change. But how it changes, what it offers in the future, and what access to justice looks like for the coming generations, these are things for us to work out together.”
The government published a consultation Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a more credible and efficient system on 9 April 2013. The consultation closes on 4 June 2013.
Read Lord McNally’s speech in full