The association has responded to the consultation paper, Transforming Legal Aid, saying that price competitive tendering is "untried, unsustainable and dangerous?. With a barrage of research-based arguments, the response points out that the government?s premises ? that there is an upward spiral in spend, a loss of confidence in the criminal justice system and that British legal aid is comparatively expensive ? are all false.

The response attacks the paper?s business modelling, demonstrates the nonsense of its geographical grasp (the MoJ envisages clients travelling from Kilburn to Dagenham), explains the dangers of conflict of interest, the destruction of expertise and skills and the negative impact of the removal of client choice. It goes on to show how the proposals would particularly attack firms employing minority ethnic lawyers, argues that the proposals to cut legal aid for judicial review are anti-democratic and that taking legal aid away from "treatment matters? in prison is contrary to human rights.

The LCCSA says that the reforms would produce a "financially emaciated, intellectually impoverished publicly funded defence system, providing a sink service to those who cannot pay?.

Lest the Secretary of State is in any doubt about the damage he is contemplating doing, the response goes on: "These proposals raise deeply important social, political and constitutional issues about the existence of an independent legal profession which is one of the fundamental checks and balances within our society?.

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