'Are Legal Cuts Just Cutting Corners' Asks PCB Solicitor Oliver Nicholas
Oliver Nicholas criminal solicitor is warning about legal changes that could reduce defendants' access to good quality legal advice offering contracts to non-specialist firms.
Justice Minister, Chris Graylings' proposed legislation will see firms competitively tender for police stations and court contracts and the work will be awarded to the lowest bidder. Oliver Nicholas, Criminal Solicitor at PCB Solicitors is warning how the changes will see individuals unable to choose their own legal representation which could result in miscarriages of justice.
The proposed legislation has been introduced to try and cut the cost of the criminal legal aid system by reducing the number of 'providers' by 75%. In this region, there will be just nine contracts available, but they will cover Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire - some 3,600 square miles.
Olive explained "Currently many law firms operate across the UK but these changes will reduce that number drastically, and many solicitors will lose work as a direct result of these proposals. It won't just effect solicitors though, the proposed changes will also have huge implications for clients in the police station and courts, who are unlikely to get a choice of the solicitor they want and could even receive representation from as far-a-field as Worcester or Warwickshire. The chances of actually meeting with your solicitor other than at court could be massively reduced.
"The tender system means private companies, including a well-known haulage company have expressed an interest in an intention to bid for work, which has caused concern in legal circles over the capability of non-legal firms being given the opportunity to run important legal cases. It also means the goverment are severely waiving the opportunity for the public to obtain good, quality advice, and ultimately the contracts will be awarded to the cheapest bidder, rather than those who are most experienced. The bottom line for legal aid is that no-one will be able to expect to receive Rolls-Royce representation, when the lowest bid is on lorry level." Oliver concluded.
Please get in touch with Oliver Nicholas if you have any queries about the possible changes to the legal aid system.