Circuit judges slam consultation

Legal Aid
The Council of Her Majesty’s Circuit Judges has submitted a stinging response to the Transforming legal aid consultation, questioning the evidence base of its “bald assertions” and criticising the short period of consultation.


The largest group of salaried judiciary said they were “deeply concerned that representation through legal aid is already not available to many” in the civil and family courts and that “in the future many accused of serious criminal offences will face trial without the proper protection of competent and appropriately resourced lawyers”.

Former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Anthony Hooper QC has also been vocal on his opposition to the proposed reforms. On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on 4 June, Sir Anthony, who retired last year, warned of the impact of “government allocated providers” on quality: “Someone will turn up at the door and say ‘I’m representing you. And by the way, I’m employed by the following company’.” Conservative MP and barrister Bob Neill retorted: “I’m afraid it’s a little bit snobbish of Sir Anthony to talk about corporate providers and so on, at the end of the day everybody who comes through that system will have to pass a quality mark.” Sir Anthony, however, described the proposed quality assurance scheme as “gobbledygook”.

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