to think none of you are taking this seriously enough

(384 Posts)
babybarrister Tue 21-May-13 23:01:46

Legal Aid is about to be decimated for criminal hearings - the reality is that anyone who can buy a better service certainly will do and the poor will get left with being represented by very low quality advocates

is this really the sign of a civilised society?

is this really what people want? a series of awful miscarriages of justice which will only be uncovered in 15 years time?

what happens if it is your relative who gets wrongly arrested and charged and then represented by someone incompetent and then imprisoned?

please have a read about the issue and consider contributing to the consultation before we all sleep walk into a police state - there is a demonstration tomorrow outside Parliament and the consultation shuts on 4th June

FWIW I am NOT a criminal barrister and have ABSOLUTELY NO FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE ISSUE!

ElectricSheep Wed 22-May-13 01:26:16

Signed.

It's terrifying to think you could end up serving a prison term because you are poor. Like the 19C for goodness sake. Still why should the posh boys care? It'll never be one of them.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Wed 22-May-13 01:26:48

Reminder to myself to sign in the morning.

hugsandbutterflies Wed 22-May-13 01:30:13

Signed

Wylye Wed 22-May-13 01:59:55

Signed

thismumismad Wed 22-May-13 05:31:41

Have signed and shared

YoniMatopoeia Wed 22-May-13 05:38:01

Marking place to access petition when I am on laptop rather than phone.

beeny Wed 22-May-13 06:07:19

Well done for post

TheFallenNinja Wed 22-May-13 06:14:40

Can I just point out that if the legal profession didn't charge such ridiculous rates then this problem would be less.

Merle Wed 22-May-13 06:20:24

We don't charge ridiculous rates. We are paid on criminal legal aid rates, which have been progressively reduced over the last decade.

Yesterday I worked for nothing, trying to ensure that a dangerous person got the detention/treatment, they/the public needs. That's how bad it has got.

The petition is now half-way there; 50,000. Please consider signing.

Merle Wed 22-May-13 06:26:54

Also I should say that this isn't about what we get paid, much as I would like to make a living.

Price competitive tendering means block contracts of work - cheapest, least qualified/ experienced wins. You will be allocated a lawyer. That person will be permitted a fixed amount of time to work on your case. The payment structures will penalise those who want to have a trial, so there is a conflict of interest between you and your lawyer; they are not acting in your best interests but would rather you played the game and pleaded guilty (even if you are innocent).

Could go on about it for hours, but must get on with the ironing/getting kids to school, etc.

VelvetSpoon Wed 22-May-13 06:27:44

This is a MASSIVE issue.

Unfortunately, the general public have been fed so much bullshit by the media over the years that they believe all the 'fatcat lawyer' stuff - as the post by Fallen Ninja proves.

In criminal law, there are a few barristers at the very top earning 6 figure salaries. They are the exception For the average barrister, they may only be on £20-25k at best. With considerable travel expenses to pay out of that, fees to chambers, other overheads. It's not a lucrative job by any means - same applies to solicitors/police station reps who practice criminal law.

And in any event. it's not just about the lawyers, it's about access to justice. There will be no legal aid. If you are charged with a criminal offence, you will have to pay for legal representation, however serious the charge. If you can't pay, presumably you have to simply admit the offence - how on earth can that be right?!

Fightlikeagirl Wed 22-May-13 06:29:17

Signed

ballstoit Wed 22-May-13 06:31:32

My brother did something incredibly stupid (was financial not violent) as a teenager which could easily have seen him sent to prison. His barrister argued for community service and a suspended sentence, and evidenced why this would be as effective, if not more so. My dB is now a youth worker, working with teenagers to prevent offending.

It horrifies me to think what may happen should my ds end up in court for a first offence, or wrongly accused in other future.

As my brothers barrister argued, sending a young man to prison, is an effective way to increase his likelihood of reoffending.

danceponydance Wed 22-May-13 06:34:18

Signed and shared on FB.

BlueyDragon Wed 22-May-13 06:37:35

Ridiculous rates, FallenNinja? Do you know what fees you get paid at the lower end of criminal work? When I was in practice a few years ago now, a piece of Magistrates' Court work (not a full trial) might be in the region of £40. That piece of work might have taken an hour or it might have taken all day, not including travelling time. And that is when I got paid at all. Legal aid rates haven't risen much since then. Ignore the legal aid rich lists - those individuals and firms are very much the exception and the figures are skewed by the way cases are paid, sometimes years after the work is done.

You get what you pay for. If we aren't prepared to pay for our criminal justice system so all those involved can be fairly and properly represented in what is a State versus Individual situation then we will deserve our fate. I wish this country would stop making criminal justice policy based on a combination of The Daily Mail's opinion and wishful thinking.

Signed and shared.

Trazzletoes Wed 22-May-13 06:40:06

Ninja <snort> Round here binmen get paid DOUBLE what many Legal Aid solicitors/ barristers are on. And don't even get me started on the Tube drivers...

But my point is that Legal Aid rates pay very very little. It's very hard to provide a service on those rates and still keep a business afloat.

These are very very worrying times.

cafecito Wed 22-May-13 06:46:54

access to justice has been torn to shreds all over the place (clin neg, family..) if you have money to pay for these things, or capital above the limit, or like most people just think you won't need these things and never consider it, you don't understand the impact this has on barring proper justice. It's really shameful

Lovelygoldboots Wed 22-May-13 06:47:49

Signed and shared.

BusStopWanker Wed 22-May-13 06:48:57

Under a Tory government it doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The Tories must be rubbing their hands together in glee thinking about how many of the feckless poor will left without any sort of legal help whatsoever - not being able to challenge the change in benefits, single parents not being able to get legal help with the family court etc. hmm Bastards!

Have signed the petition.

Signed.

I can't share because I don't have a facebook account, so I've e-mailed the link to everyone in my contacts' list.

Signed and shared.

KittensoftPuppydog Wed 22-May-13 07:06:34

Signed. I don't know what bump means.

CorrieDale Wed 22-May-13 07:11:48

Signed and shared. And bumped. Multi-tasking at 7.11!

Can't sign right now as I am on the Xbox but will later. So just bumping for the moment.

Well done for posting this.

kungfupannda Wed 22-May-13 07:35:00

TheFallenNinja
"Can I just point out that if the legal profession didn't charge such ridiculous rates then this problem would be less."

That's an interesting viewpoint.

Would you like to give some examples of "ridiculous" legal aid rates? They are easily available if you look online.

Then we can discuss our "ridiculous rates" properly.

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