NAO report on legal aid cuts

In November 2014, the National Audit Office (‘NAO’) published a report of their findings into the impact of the changes to legal aid made under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). You can read the full report here. The function of the NAO is to assist Parliament in holding the government to account, and ensure that the nation is spending wisely.

Lords Amendments on JR Defeated


The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is going through the final parliamentary stages before it becomes law. Part 4 of the Bill proposes significant changes to the judicial review procedure. The House of Lords had passed amendments to the Bill on 27 October, which campaigners and lawyers welcomed. However, on 1 December the House of Commons rejected those amendments, putting back into the Bill changes that could have a chilling effect on people’s ability to access justice.

Criminal cuts go ahead

Government response to duty contract consultation

The Government has announced its intention to press ahead with plans to dramatically reduce the number of legal aid contracts allowing criminal defence firms to represent suspects in the police station, while also cutting fees by a further 8.75%. These changes are likely to lead to the closure of many criminal defence firms, while making it ever more difficult for new and aspiring lawyers, particularly those from less well-off backgrounds, to sustain a career in this sector.

CJC bill back in the Lords


Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - Judicial Review - back to the House of Lords on 9 December 2014

Legal aid news - 11 Nov 2014

  • Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, accused the government of creating an unthinkable, unconscionable and unjust situation whereby the parents of a two year old boy have to respond to a local authority’s application for their son to be adopted outside the family without legal representation because they are (just) financially ineligible for legal aid.

Justice Select Committee

YLAL committee members Connor Johnston and Carita Thomas gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee as part of their review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Connor appeared on behalf of Garden Court Chambers to talk about housing law and Carita represented the Immigration Law Practitioners Association to discuss the impact of LASPO on her area of work.

You can watch them both give evidence here

Legal aid news - 20 Oct 2014

  • The Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) annual conference was held on 10 October 2014. The conference theme was successful strategies for the future and it featured a number of workshops, including a careers panel session arranged by YLAL and a seminar on public interest challenges, also hosted by YLAL. A report of the conference prepared by YLAL members will be on our website and the Legal Voice website in the near future.

Crime legal aid cuts: your view

What is this all about?

The Government has announced a new consultation on cuts to criminal legal aid, specifically its plans to reduce the number of contracts that let firms do “duty solicitor” work. The Government wants to drop the number of contracts from the current figure of around 1,600 contracts to 525.

Legal aid news - 28 Sept 2014

  • The judicial review challenge to the Lord Chancellor’s criminal legal aid consultation was successful, with judgment handed down by the Administrative Court on 16 September 2014. Our report of the judgment is here, with an extended version at Legal Voice here.


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