Solicitors have attacked Home Office plans to restrict financial payouts for victims of miscarriages of justice ? including legal fees ? warning that fewer lawyers will take cases on.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said last week that reform of the public funding system was needed, arguing there should be less flexibility, with more time-limits and more account taken of applicants? convictions.

Under the plans, assessors should assess the level of fees paid for legal help pursuant to the Community Legal Service (Funding) Order 2000, with a proposed cap on costs at ?50 an hour. ?Compensation payments are now running at an average of well over ?250,000, with more than 10% of that amount also paid in legal fees,? Mr Clarke said.

Legal Aid Practitioners Group director Richard Miller said: ?This will make it even more difficult for lawyers to help the victims of miscarriages of justice.?

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