Barrister's ABI warning

A leading barrister has warned that a shakeup of the legal aid system will deprive people with ABI of a choice of representation.

Legal aid offers financial support to those who cannot afford legal advice or representation in court. The Government has withdrawn legal aid funding for some areas of civil law, and plans to reduce the number of firms permitted to offer legal aid in criminal cases by 75 per cent in a bid to provide a more affordable system. Price Competitive Tendering would be introduced, which would mean those on legal aid would see the closest and most inexpensive lawyer from an approved panel. Lawyers fear the changes will create a “two-tier” system of justice, where those on legal aid have no choice in who represents them, while wealthier clients have access to experts. Proposed changes to the system for criminal legal aid have prompted Amanda Yip QC to make an impassioned call for people to sign a petition that aims to “save the legal aid system”. She published an article this week entitled Turning Points: Brain Injury and the Justice System. Citing an example of a young man with a brain injury who was arrested for assault, she argues that a positive outcome was achieved through access to specialised representation. Read Amanda Yip QC’s article here.
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