Double trouble for Ministry of Justice

Criminal

Two separate judicial reviews have been launched against the Ministry of Justice in response to plans within the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2010-2011 to cut legal aid.

The charity, Action against Medical Accidents (Avma), has issued proceedings over plans to scrap legal aid for clinical negligence.
The Public Law Project, instructed by 10 legal aid firms, has begun proceedings against the Ministry’s decision to introduce a mandatory single telephone gateway for anyone seeking publicly funded legal advice in community care law. Avma’s legal action argues that the MoJ’s proposal to scrap legal aid for clinical negligence is “unfair” and “irrational”, and that there has been an “inadequate” consultation response and impact assessment.

An MoJ spokesperson declined to comment on Avma’s judicial review application, but said: “Victims will still have access to solicitors through ‘no win-no fee’ deals, which the government is reforming. We are making special arrangements so that people will be able to insure themselves against the cost of reports if they lose. “Importantly, we are also bringing in a rule that will mean, in most cases, victims will not have to meet the other side’s costs if they lose. Victims will be able to receive legal aid to fund the most serious and complex cases, where a ‘no win-no fee’ agreement is not available, and where the failure to provide funding would breach their human rights.”
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