The Garden Court Crime Team welcomes the Government’s announcement to abandon the dual contracting regime for criminal legal aid. We also welcome the announcement to suspend the second fee cut for solicitors of 8.75%.
Alongside many others at the criminal bar, our members have long campaigned against the Government’s proposals. Michael Turner QC began the Bar's opposition to the Government's 'slash and burn' approach to legal aid during his time as head of the Criminal Bar Association. He has remained at the forefront of the fight ever since.
As a Chambers and in solidarity with our solicitors, we supported the direct action campaign last year by adopting a ‘no returns’ policy and refusing new work. We took this action to protect access to justice and the rule of law.
Henry Blaxland QC, Joint of Head of Chambers at Garden Court Chambers said:
“The Government's decision to abandon the fundamentally flawed dual contracting system is a crucial step towards ensuring that anyone accused of an offence in this country is able to have a full and fearless defence put forward by experienced, high-quality solicitors and barristers.”
“We hope that this announcement marks the beginning of a new attitude by Government to legal aid policy, recognising the importance of a properly funded defence to the fair and efficient running of the criminal justice system.”
We would like to express our gratitude to all those who campaigned against the Government’s proposal, in particular the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and the Justice Alliance.