In its response to the Green Paper, “Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales”, the Judges Council warned the increase in litigants in person would have “serious implications for the quality of justice and for the administration of the justice system in terms of additional costs and delays – at a time when courts are having to cope in any event with closures, budgetary cut-backs and reductions in staff numbers. “The consultation paper shows an awareness of the issue but fails to recognise the depth of the problem. Even if one focuses on cost alone, there is a real question whether the cost savings arising from the proposed cut­backs in the scope of civil and family legal aid would be offset by the additional costs imposed on the system by dealing with the increase in litigants in person.”
The Bar Council, in its response to the proposals, reached the same conclusion. Stephen Cobb QC, chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, who led the Bar Council’s response, said the cuts could cost more than they saved, and would result in “longer trials, more appeals, more costs and the risk of miscarriages of justice”.

The Judges Council was particularly critical of plans to withdraw public funding from clinical negligence cases, the majority of which are legally aided.
It disputed the MoJ’s argument that these can be funded through conditional fee arrangements, “not least because of the difficulty in obtaining after­-the-event insurance cover for an unsuccessful claimant’s liability for costs in such high risk litigation”.