Bar Council Responds to New Legal Aid Consultation

5 September 2013

The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has today responded to the publication of the Ministry of Justice's new legal aid consultation.

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, said:

"We were relieved to see that the Ministry of Justice has listened to the public and to the profession about the importance of retaining client choice. It is deeply regrettable that the Ministry does not appear to have moved on many other areas of justified and evidenced concern.

"It remains the case that cuts to legal aid are the harshest in the public sector. The amount of money which the Ministry of Justice is seeking to save does not justify the consequences of these cuts. It is inevitable that this will impact heavily on the quality of both criminal and civil legal aid. The people who lose out the most are the public who rely on a justice system which operates efficiently in the public interest.

"We shall study the paper carefully. Our response will aim to preserve the heart of the legal aid scheme that has played such a vital role in providing access to justice for all."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • 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 Board.