Only this week, in their 9th Report (HC 322), the Public Accounts Committee heavily criticised the MoJ and the LSC for the confusion and uncertainty about their respective roles in relation to legal aid, the absence of a clear strategic direction and poor management of legal aid changes at the Commission and the LSC’s lack of understanding of the legal services market. Because of the Commission’s lack of basic information about its supplier base, it is unable to demonstrate that it offers the taxpayer good value for money. These findings, which follow last year’s highly critical report of the Justice Committee on family legal aid reform and a series of botched efforts to reform criminal legal aid, have systematically undermined the justice system. Despite these failings, the Bar Council has consistently put forward proposals designed to safeguard and promote the administration of justice, without seeking recourse to legal action.

However, the Bar Council considers that, despite its requests for a change of approach which recognises that the two latest consultations (and a third, as yet unpublished, on the introduction of a single graduated fee) are inextricably linked, theconduct of the consultation by the MoJ and the LSC has been so flawed that judicial review is the only option left open to the Bar. The full press release, including the comments made by Bar Chairman, Nicholas Green QC and the Chairman of the CBA, Paul Mendelle QC can be found on the Bar Council website