Bar Council Chair Warns Conservative Conference of Consequences of Legal Aid Cuts
30 September 2011
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference
in Manchester, the Chairman of the Bar Council, which represents
barristers in England and Wales, will warn of the significant
threat posed to access to justice by the Government's proposed
legal aid cuts.
Next Tuesday 4 October, Peter Lodder QC will speak at an event
co-hosted by the Bar Council, the Society of Conservative Lawyers,
the Prison Reform Trust and the Criminal Justice Alliance, entitled
"Can the Coalition deliver a fairer, more efficient and effective
justice system?". He will be joined by the Justice Minister
Jonathan Djanogly MP, Vicki Helyar-Cardwell, Director of the
Criminal Justice Alliance, and Juliet Lyon CBE, Director of the
Prison Reform Trust.
Peter Lodder QC, Chairman of the Bar, will say:
"I repeat here what I have said to your Coalition partners in
Birmingham, and in many statements to the press, the public and
parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. The
Government's cuts to legal aid, coming on top of successive rounds
of cuts under the last Administration, will seriously undermine the
efficiency of the justice system. Barristers operate on
the front-line to ensure that our justice system works efficiently,
effectively and, most importantly, fairly for all involved.
"The next wave of cuts, together with the changes proposed in
the Legal Aid Bill, will end up costing the Government more, not
less. This is not a case of 'we are all in this together'.
The Government's own impact assessment is a damning indictment,
demonstrating the disproportionate effect that these cuts will have
on those most in need of support and the wider social costs of the
"There are other ways to make the savings which the Ministry of
Justice is seeking to make. The Bar Council has made a number of
alternative suggestions, including unfreezing defendants'
restrained assets to meet the costs of their legal services in
criminal cases and introducing compulsory legal insurance for all
corporate officers. The Government has ignored or dismissed these
suggestions with little or no consideration of their potential
efficacy. The changes being proposed are likely to cost the
taxpayer more than the savings they are intended to achieve. We
urge the Government to think again."
Notes to editors:
- The Bar Council has published a 2011 Party Conference briefing
here to read it.
- "Can the Coalition deliver a fairer, more efficient and
effective justice system?", co-hosted by the Bar Council, the
Society of Conservative Lawyers, the Prison Reform Trust and the
Criminal Justice Alliance, will take place next Tuesday 4 October
at 13:00, in the Stanley Suite of the Midland Hotel, Manchester.
Refreshments will be provided.
- For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press
Office on 020 7222 2525.
- The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It
- The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory
- Fair access to justice for all
- The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across
the profession, and
- The development of business opportunities for barristers at
home and abroad.
The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the
Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions
through the independent Bar Standards