Legal Aid

Call for consultation

PUBLISHED July 10, 2006

Sir - We are concerned at Lord Falconer's comments (report, July 6) and alarmed that he interprets the word "consult" to mean "impose".

Lord Carter's recommendations are likely to have a damaging impact on access to justice for the public and the quality of legal advice they receive. Any proposals to impose fixed prices on criminal defence services below the current levels (which have been stagnant for more than 10 years) will inevitably drive firms away from legal aid and put downward pressure on quality.

As a result, thousands of law firms will be forced to close, in particular smaller high-street firms. This will make it much more difficult for the public to access legal advice and the quality of advice they receive will be severely lower than that which is available today.

Linda Woolley, President, London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association, London WC2