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Northern delights | Making fiction fact

In our fight to save the justice system, what better role model to look to than Atticus Finch, says Kevin Poulter

29 May 2013

You don't need me to inform you that the criminal legal aid system is undergoing a few changes at the moment. Barristers and solicitors from across the country have come together to protest in unison against the proposals made by the lord chancellor, Chris Grayling. With a target to shave somewhere between £220m and £350m off the legal aid budget by 2018, the proposal is to reduce the number of firms providing advice and much needed assistance from 1,600 to fewer than 400 "factories of mass-produced justice", as Lord Woolf has referred to them. Defendants will no longer be able to choose who represents them, but will be allocated an accredited firm or adviser. In addition, there will be the introduction of "price competitive tendering" for certain contracts, fixed fees and a reduction in fees of around 20 per cent.

It was only a coincidence that, on the evening before 500 lawyers congregated in Westminster to protest against reforms to legal aid, I foun...

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