22 May 2013

Save UK Justice

This blog post is completely out of my normal sphere, but I feel that it is an important issue and one that hasn’t had as much publicity as it needs.

We all know by now that the NHS is being systematically destroyed by the Government.  Cuts are being made everywhere and with varying chunks of the NHS being sold off to the higher bidder, the NHS we all knew is no longer.

This matter has been well documented both in the press and on the various forms of social media.  What hasn’t had as much publicity is the cuts being made to the legal aid system for criminal matters and the ways in which the justice system is being changed.

While you think that these changes may not affect you, that you don’t intend to commit any crimes, remember that innocent people can be arrested just as easily as guilty ones.  Let it also be remembered that it the cuts are deemed “successful” by the Government, then the same system will be rolled out to family cases. 

At the moment if you have been arrested you are able choose a solicitor of your preference, be it someone who you already know and trust or someone that has been recommended to you in the knowledge that they will represent your interests fairly and provide you with the correct advice.

What the changes will institute is that upon arrest, if you are in need of legal aid, rather than having own solicitor attend you will provided with a duty solicitor who will also have any number of cases aside from yours to deal with.  Apart from the obvious delays in being seen that this will cause, with the duty solicitor having a constant and large stream of people to see, you are never going to get more than a few minutes with them.

If you are charged with the offence and subsequently bailed, this would ordinarily be the time, if you hadn’t got someone in mind already, that you would be instructing your own solicitor to assist you or asking for a recommendation of the best person in the area.  Once the changes have come into effect however, you will be forced to stay with the firm you were first allocated with, whether they specialise in that particular area of criminal law or not.  You will now be forced to stay with the firm you have been allotted, who have essentially just been chosen because they are the cheapest.  In my books, the cheapest is not usually the best quality. 

With the majority of people no longer being even eligible for legal aid, they will be forced to either represent themselves or face the legal bills themselves.

This will lead to many miscarriages of justice whereby you can’t afford to get legal advice and thereby you are unable to properly represent your case at Court which may well lead to a conviction through no fault of your own. 

Solicitors who you might previously have gotten some free advice from may no longer be open, as the changes with the legal aid, along with the new rules in civil litigation have forced many firms into closing and putting their employees out of work.
 
 
Please sign the Save UK Justice Epetition

4 comments:

  1. That's the way it works in Portugal. Usually the solicitor couldn't care less about you and is indifferent to the outcome of the process...
    Let's just hope that law firms increase their pro-bono time to help people in need!

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    1. The unfortunate matter is that by the government clamping down on legal aid and civil fees means that many solicitors firms are being forced to close down with many jobs lost. Pro bono work is only possible from the very large firms who can afford to do so.

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  2. There's also another reason for doing this. At the moment when people challenge their frankly bullshit benefits decisions, they can get legal aid to appeal. Not any longer if this goes through. Needless to say, it's been signed by me! x x

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    Replies
    1. This is going to affect so many people but I don't think that many actually realise, or they won't at least until it happens.

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