Spending Review 2015 - Bar Council response

26 November 2015

Chairman of the Bar Council Alistair MacDonald QC said:"Investment to modernise courts and tribunals is vital to the successful reform of our criminal justice system and today's Ministry of Justice settlement safeguards the £700 million announced earlier this year.

"Proposed 'overall resource savings' of 15% and a 50% cut in the department's administrative budget, are obviously a big concern.

"Whatever plans have been made to implement these cuts, we urge the Government to ensure that access to justice, particularly for the most vulnerable, is not further restricted.

"Since LASPO was enacted, hundreds of thousands of people have been left without access to legal advice, often in serious cases involving custody of children, victims of domestic violence, and access to housing, education, health and welfare services.

"The introduction of court fees means people must now pay to £10,000 in order to get access to the courts if they are injured at work or if they are a small business chasing a late payer.

"The criminal justice system is creaking to the point where people accused of crimes do not always have a properly qualified legal representative to defend them.

"Access to justice has already been restricted beyond the reasonable endurance of ordinary citizens. The question now for the Government is; how do we make sure access to justice is not restricted even further?"

Ends

Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 andPress@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.