Commentary by LCCSA President Greg Powell, following his participation at the launch of the Charter for Justice
Successive Ministers for Justice have been incompetent , negligent or mendacious. They are between them responsible for over two decades of cuts to legal aid.
Government expenditure rose from 600 billion to 840 billion within the last 10 years . Cuts have been a political policy rather than a consequence of shortage of money, and propelled by the political careers of Ministers .
The statistics of suicide and self harm within the prison system, and the failure to respond to Institutional Racism and the inequalities outlined in the Lammy report are shocking .
Meanwhile the courts estate is asset stripped and funds diverted to support an online programme seen as a panacea but in fact foreshadowing a grim erosion of active participation, along with a lack of legal advice and representation .
The Bar is on the cusp of action. Solicitors will I believe rally in support .
Confronted with this crisis, Justice needs a Minister who will stand up to the Treasury and restore the funding of a decade ago .
Nothing less will do if The Rule of Law , Equality of arms and the Right to a Fair Trial are to have real meaning .
Lets hope the current Minister will respond positively to the Charter for Justice.