Wednesday 3 July 2013

The Justice Committee ~ Hearing of 3rd July 2013 ~ Legal Aid

Update - 3rd July:  The session is over - Watch it Here.

Update 4th July:  Solicitors Journal   Fresh consultation to be launched in September after 'detailed talks' with Law Society
Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, put the Law Society in the driving seat on the criminal legal aid cuts while repeatedly attacking barristers and the Bar at ... meeting of the justice select committee. The only other concession was to exempt babies under 12 months old from the proposed 'residence test.'

Update 5th July:  Uncorrected transcript of oral evidence- Parliament

The House of Commons Justice Committee meets today to question the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr Chris Grayling MP) about the proposals on Transforming Legal Aid.  As published, the particular focus of this session is to be Price Competitive Tendering (PCT).

The Committee has 12 members including its Chairman Sir Alan Beith MP (Liberal Democrat).  The political party make up of the committee is 1 Liberal Democrat, 5 Conservative, 5 Labour and 1 Plaid Cymru.  Some of the Justice Committee members spoke in the recent backbench debate on legal aid .

As indicated
in the 2nd July post on this blog, there appears to have been a shift in the Secretary of State's position on Price Competitive Tendering.  Thus, the committee might wish to know exactly what Mr Grayling's current position is.

On 4th June, links to over 70 responses to the government's proposals were collated on this blog - Responses to Transforming Legal Aid.  According to Jeremy Wright MP in the legal aid debate, there were in the region of 16000 responses.

On 1st July, the Law Society published an alternative proposal which does not involve PCT.      This proposal seeks to retain choice; provide certainty and facilitate efficiency - see

Whether the Law Society's proposal proves to be a lifeline to the politically ambitious Mr Grayling remains to be seen.  The impact of the Law Society scheme on smaller solicitor's practices - usually located on your average 'high street' - has to be carefully analysed.

Other links:

See also Gemma's blog - Why the Law Society proposed alternatives 

Garden Court Law - The absurdity of Mr Grayling's residence test

Open Democracy - Who is that man in the Lord Chancellor's seat?

Legal Aid Changes

Uncorrected transcript of oral evidence

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