In scenes that were once unimaginable, we have already seen barristers outside the courts over legal aid cuts. Their arguments are that the proposed cuts could reduce their fees by up to 30% and mean that defendants would have reduced access to representation. Here we will look at these proposed cuts and examine their implications.Read more...
Hands up, who has already broken their new year’s resolution? Apparently about 75 per cent of us will fail after just nine days, which makes them hardly worth bothering with (unless, say, your resolution was to decorate the living room by 8 January 2013). Mine are suitably unoriginal, but since I recommit to them at least once a month they don’t really count as new year’s resolutions.Read more...
It is a paradox that the rule stating people often rate their personal experience of something much more highly than the something as a whole does not seem to apply to politicians. Thus surveys can show disaffection with the NHS but great relationships with local GPs, or dislike of the legal profession but, amazingly, really good connections with individual lawyers.Read more...
And so the legal aid bill has ended its ignominious passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent
. It is, without a doubt, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to come out of this most controversial of governments and will, also without a doubt, eviscerate the legal aid system.
Last week I had the pleasure of having lunch with barrister Henrietta Hill. We were at university together more years ago than would be polite to disclose. I’ll admit to being slightly jealous that she has managed to achieve far more than I have in fighting injustice, but then I didn’t have the aptitude or dedication to become a top lawyer and have been muddling along ever since.Read more...
Legal aid might not be dead yet, but it is certainly on life support. The route to justice for thousands of people, including children, victims of domestic violence, disabled people appealing decisions to cut welfare payments and patients who have suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor, is slowly being choked off. And yet there has been more press coverage about having to pay VAT on a hot pasty.Read more...
I am instinctively distrustful of insurance companies, despite the fact that a good portion of my monthly income goes into their coffers to keep my car on the road, the roof over my head and, in theory at least, provide me with an income if the worst happens and I can’t work. Hopefully, I will never have to call on my policies, although that only seems to reinforce the feeling that my hard-earned cash is just lining someone else’s pocket.Read more...
I'll give them this, the coalition government has a thick skin. Having only passed the Welfare Reform Bill by one vote last week and still dragging the Health and Social Care Bill kicking and screaming through the House of Lords, today it attempts to squeeze the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (Laspo) past growing opposition from peers.Read more...
It’s rather a British thing to support the underdog. I’m pretty sure most of us feel a natural affinity for David and get a warm glow when he manages to land one on Goliath. It’s nice to know that when the little guy takes on an injustice done to him he can be sure of a fair hearing thanks to Lady Justice and the principles of magna carta. At least that’s what it used to be like.Read more...
Well here we are, 2012 is up and, while not quite running yet, gingerly poking its feet out from under the duvet. It’s fair enough to be a bit cautious about rushing headlong into January if the last year is anything to go by. The first full year of the coalition government has been something of a rollercoaster, whichever side of the political divide you sit and whatever your area of concern. Looking at it from a legal perspective, it’s hard not to conclude that we are heading for a derailment in 2012 as we rush headlong, and blindly, down the tracks of reform.Read more...
, Human Rights Act
, legal aid cuts
, phone hacking
, prisoners voting rights
So this will (probably) be my last blog post of 2011, just over a year since I wrote my first one on the Legal Futures website
(which you should read if you don’t, the website that is, not my post). I was inspired to write because I was fed up with just sighing loudly and shaking my head at the absurd reporting of a survey
suggesting most, if not all, high street law firms would come out of the ABS mangle alive. One year on, sadly, not much has changed with the way many lawyers think about the changes taking place in the legal market. Lots else has though.
, access to justice
, compensation culture
, law firms
, law society
, legal aid
, quality solicitors
, solicitors from hell
You know when something is seriously wrong with the world when you are on the same side of an argument as Lord Tebbit. Not exactly known for his compassion, he famously urged the unemployed to get on their bikes and look for work, he’s not a politician you would think of as a supporter of any sort of state funding for, well anything. However, this week he has rather surprised everyone and come out fighting to preserve legal aid
for children in medical negligence cases.