Are the Justice Secretary’s cuts in legal aid fees premature when criminal courts are squandering millions a year?
With the print scarcely dry on his report into press standards, Sir Brian Leveson is starting a fresh inquiry with potentially similar sensitivities: how to cut timewasting in the criminal courts.
The move was announced last month to coincide with the Justice Secretary’s final decisions on legal aid cuts; and is intended to soften the blow. The idea is to cut out repeated and wasteful hearings so lawyers do less for their (lower) fee per case. There is anger, though, that the inquiry was not done before the cuts: would those savings even be necessary, say lawyers, if the courts become more cost-effective?
The figures on waste are stark. A report this month by the National Audit Office on the criminal justice system finds “much to be done to tackle inefficiency and reduce the multiple points of failure within the system”.
Time to tackle the scandal of waste in the criminal courts | The Times.