Commenting on the Government’s decision, Chairman of the Bar, Nicholas Green QC said:

‘We welcome the publication of Sir Ian Magee’s report and the decision to move the Legal Services Commission to executive agency status in order to focus on the delivery of legal aid. Sir Ian’s report is thoughtful and well argued. As Sir Ian recognises, there has been a lack of clarity about who is calling the shots over policy. He identifies a number of serious issues which we will need to consider further. The case for separating the roles of administration of the legal aid funds from policy formulation, and clarifying the relationship between the MoJ and the LSC in organisational and governance terms, is a strong one which will undoubtedly help to rebuild more constructive relationships with the supplier base and stakeholders.

At a time of enormous pressure on public expenditure, it is essential that the LSC focuses on effective delivery of legal aidwhich demonstrates value for money to the taxpayer but also at the same time ensures access to justice for those who need it most. We shall look forward to beginning early discussions with MoJ officials to explore how the Bar could help the Ministry take forward the Magee recommendations for change. We shall also look forward to working with Carolyn Downs as interim Chief Executive of the Legal Services Commission.’