Save Legal Aid – Say No to Cut-Price Justice

To: The Ministry of Justice

This campaign was a success! Well done to everyone who was involved - together we did it! After months of campaigning from 38 Degrees, Liberty and other groups, Chris Grayling announced that the right to choose a Legal Aid lawyer would not be taken away. This means that everyone will have access to a proper legal defense regardless of how much money they have.
Save Legal Aid – Say No to Cut-Price Justice
49,250
of 50,000 signatures
Campaign created by Maura McGowan QC Icon-email

We are calling on the Ministry of Justice to reconsider its plans to introduce Price Competitive Tendering for criminal legal aid. We believe that people should be entitled to choose a lawyer to represent them based on quality, not just be allocated one on the basis of whoever can do the job for the lowest price. 

As the Chairman of the Bar Council, I know that we have a legal system which is respected all over the world. These proposals will damage that beyond repair and hit the diversity of the legal profession hard. Cut price justice is no justice at all.

Why is this important?

The Ministry of Justice’s current consultation on legal aid – available at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid – will damage our justice system beyond repair. We only have until Tuesday 4 June to respond in full to the consultation paper.

Imagine that you or someone you care about was arrested and risked being charged with a criminal offence. You would have access to high quality, publicly-funded legal representation, provided by a lawyer you have confidence in, and receive an individual service, often at a time of great stress. We have a justice system for which we are respected and admired all over the world, in which we treat people as innocent until they are proven guilty before a court, in a fair and transparent trial.

As Chairman of the Bar Council and as a criminal practitioner, I know first-hand how important effective access to justice is.

If the Government’s proposals go through, all that will change. Vast contracts will be issued to a small number of whichever organisations can offer block legal services at the lowest price. It is more than likely that new organisations will enter into the market; organisations which have no track record in law; only in business.

Quality and an individual service will disappear. There will be no choice and the only driver will be price. Instead of having equal access to justice, however much money you have, we will have a two-tier system for those who can afford quality representation and those who can’t.

Worse still, the introduction of a system which will hit female and Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) practitioners the hardest, and lead to a less diverse legal profession, is against the public interest.

Please sign this petition to join us in fighting for a justice system we can be proud of not just the cheapest the Government thinks it can get away with. Justice is worth more than that.
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Reasons for signing

  • Neil M. 2013-10-19 20:44:17 +0100
    It would be criminal not to have this service !!
  • Emma W. 2013-09-06 09:13:00 +0100
    To save fire stations from closing, any cuts are endangering people's lives when there are less fire stations to deal with more fires. To dangerous
  • Hayley M. 2013-09-06 21:52:36 +0100
    Price competitive tendering will leave many people with only a few solicitors willing to aid. These people will be left with less power if they disagree or are unhappy with a legal representative and therefore who could /may be instructing who?Haylou

Updates

8 months ago
Success-badge-small

Petition is successful with 49018 signatures

8 months ago
Success-badge-small

Petition is successful with 49017 signatures

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