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Djanogly confirms criminal legal aid cuts

10 June 2010

Jonathan Djanogly, the new legal aid and civil justice minister, has confirmed that the previous government's drastic cuts to criminal legal aid will go ahead.

The cuts would mean a large number of small and medium-sized firms losing their contracts. Tuckers, the biggest criminal legal aid firm, has estimated that the number could be cut from 2,500 to only 400.

Speaking to journalists at the Royal Courts of Justice today, Djanogly said that legal aid would be not "ring-fenced" from further cuts.

“Since legal aid forms 25 per cent of the Ministry of Justice budget, if there are costs savings to be made, legal aid will form part of it,” he said.

The coalition has committed itself to a legal aid review this summer, but Djanogly said this would be more a case of assessing existing reviews and “injecting some political leadership”.

He went on: “We’ve had too many reviews. Many, many reviews have resulted in a series of salami-slicing activities and partial policy changes.

“We are listening to the legal community and we admit they are very upset at what has been done and the lack of thinking that has gone into it.”

Djanogly said the arrival of ABS firms could result in savings to the legal aid budget, but only in the “medium to long term”.

For more on Jonathan Djanogly's plans, see next week’s issue of Solicitors Journal

Categorised in:

Legal Aid Procedures Police & Prisons Local government