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There’s no life in crime

John Bottomley explains what the criminal legal aid crisis means for junior lawyers

7 November 2019

Much has been written about the ageing population of criminal duty solicitors. The Law Society, for example, published data in April 2019 highlighting that the average age of a duty solicitor in England and Wales was 47.

In many areas, especially in rural regions, the data showed more than 50 per cent of duty solicitors were over 50 years old.

This poses an obvious problem: what will the situation be like in five to 10 years’ time when they are approaching retirement?

The highly publicised problems with funding and the lack of availability of legal aid have made starting a career in criminal law much less attractive for junior and aspiring solicitors.

The issues experienced solicitors are facing have quickly filtered down to students deciding which area of law to specialise in.

A law student graduating via the traditional route of a three-year law degree and the legal pra...

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