.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When Lawyers revolt

Who would have thought that a government minister would be heckled by a group of lawyers? This is not the usual approach of such a well-behaved group of people. The Guardian reports thus:

Plans to cut legal aid fees for barristers and solicitors defending vulnerable children are to be reviewed after a minister faced heckling from angry lawyers at consultation meetings.

Vera Baird, a junior minister at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, has decided to look again at the proposals after meeting what a department spokesman admitted was "a robust response" from lawyers in meetings from Brighton to Nottingham.

She is facing severe criticism from the legal profession over plans for a radical overhaul of legal aid from next April recommended by Lord Carter of Coles - a Labour donor and former chairman of a private healthcare group - including a restructuring of fees paid to lawyers.

Personally, I prefer to think that their anger was directed at the government on behalf of their clients rather than their bank balances. After all there are many dedicated and principled legal aid lawyers with a strong sense of justice who would consider the changes being proposed by the Government to pose a threat to the most vulnerable in our society. As Alistair MacDonald, the joint chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children says:

"A payment scheme that reduces the number of specialist solicitors able to run economically viable practices representing children and families is an entirely false economy, is bad for children, bad for society and bad for the country as a whole."

"If you take short cuts on the foundations, you cannot complain when the house falls down."

"Further undermining the family justice system in this way will lead directly to increased expenditure in the fields of youth justice, criminal justice and mental health, which expenditure too often has to pick up the pieces left by an under-resourced and under-prioritised child protection and family justice system."

So much for Labour standing up for the under-privileged and weakest in our society.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?