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Your Solicitor, Your Choice

SRA approved text to be used by Solicitors in attempts to spread the word to clients and add support of the e petition.

Your Solicitor, Your Choice?

Not for Long!

We are writing to you to make you aware of some very big changes which the government wants to make to the way Criminal legal aid works. 

The proposals cover all criminal legal aid litigation work (i.e. the solicitor side of things) including cases in the Crown Court.

The full consultation document can be found on https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid/supporting_documents/transforminglegalaid.pdf it is 161 pages long so we have summarised some of the key points below;

1. Legally-aided criminal defendants will not be able to choose their own solicitorthis will mean you will no longer be able to choose a lawyer who you know and trust but will simply be given someone. This person might not know any of your background or personal circumstances. This could mean you having to repeat this information or that important points are missed in bail applications or sentencing. 

 2. Only people (possibly solicitors’ firms or equally possibly someone like Serco or G4S) who get a contract will be able to represent you. They will only get a contract if they charge the lowest possible price per casethere are some quality controls in place but you might think that this could lead to a reduction in the effort put into your representation.

3. In each area the number of firms will be limited. For example the current proposal is that in South Wales there will be only 8 and in Gwent only 4 This could lead to massive delays in solicitors attending the police station or court for example if you are in Cardiff Bay Police Station but the firm given your case is based in Swansea. It might also be very difficult for you to drop in to see your solicitor when you want to.

What we would ask is that you don’t accept everything you read in the newspapers about this.

Fat Cat lawyers working in Criminal Legal Aid are very few and far between.

A large number of the people who represent you earn less than a newly qualified police officer and the vast majority earns less than a police sergeant.

If you disagree with the plans, write to your MP and tell them.

But if you only do one thing sign the petition at;

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48628 


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