Published: 1 June, 2012
• MINISTERS are well aware of the importance of criminal legal aid, which is why cuts to its budget have been relatively mild, less than six per cent (Was Sam’s a story of ‘justice’ on the cheap? May 25). The bulk of legal aid cuts have fallen on civil legal aid, cut by 24 per cent.
The political cause of this miscarriage of justice is more likely to lie with the Blair government, which passed a lot of legislation undermining the presumption of innocence.
The Ministry of Justice has said it will focus legal aid on cases “where legal help is most needed, where people’s life or liberty is at stake or they are at risk of serious physical harm, face immediate loss of their home or their children may be taken into care, [while] reducing the £2.1billion per year legal aid bill for England and Wales”.
This is clearly why it has chosen to make relatively mild cuts in criminal legal aid. Most of these cuts will be funded by slightly increased scope for price competition rather than actual withdrawal of support from those accused of crimes.