Time for the Direct Option?

Last Orders at the Bar

The Criminal Bar is staring into the abyss; our solicitors are too. The system which we all put our heart and soul into every day is about to be smashed by a cretin who cannot conceive of the damage he is about to do; or worse doesn’t care because it will bring him personal advantage. .

I think we have to be honest; this is in part about money. This job has to pay well enough to make the sacrifices we all make worthwhile. The time we work all night and all weekend so that our kids and partners are like strangers, the traveling and the constant attempts to pay your bills whilst the LSC refuses to pay ours.

And yet there is so much more at stake here. The system is already run on a shoestring; the cuts simply cannot be borne. All of us have struggled to get…

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Save UK justice: the blogs

An excellent list of “Save UK Justice” blog comments



I think the personal – blogger – response to the current legal aid reform proposals is particularly informative and powerful so, I’ve begun compiling the reactions I’ve been able to track down. When finished (and whilst throughout) this should be a useful resource, reference and record. All the pieces below follow the publication of the ‘Transforming Legal Aid‘ proposals on 9 April 2013 and were written by individuals on blogs or published via other new media (eg podcasts, Storify) as opposed to articles published in mainstream and other online media and news outlets. I am not aware of any other list but if there is one could someone please share it so I can link to it/update this piece

Grayling that, please feel free to use the contact form below the list to let me know about any blog post(s) I’ve missed or new ones that need adding as…

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Save UK Justice: One Hundred Thousand

Thoughts on the Criminal Justice System

On 28th June 2013, Rachel Bentley’s Save UK Justice e-petition hit 100,000 signatures. What made the amount of signatures particularly special, was that it was her birthday.

The Solicitors Journal wrote about it: here.

100,000 signatures on an e-petition qualifies the matter to be debated by Backbenchers in Parliament. However, as we know, this debate took place one day ahead of meeting its 100,000 target (read about it here).

I understand that this Backbenchers debate occurred without prejudice to its numbers, therefore, as I understand it, a second debate could be held. I really hope so!

There are so many reasons why hitting a target of 100,000 is astonishing. There have been so many people who have been tirelessly campaigning to raise awareness of the following:

– All suspects deserve the right to choose their own solicitor. All suspects/defendants are entitled to a fair trial (Will Article…

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The Lord’s Finger

A view from the North

The famed Boardroom. In the middle sits Lord Sugar. To his right is Alan Beith and to his left Maura McGowan QC. The door opens and in walk the three contestants who have been brought back in to the Boardroom following this week’s task “Transforming Legal Aid”.

Lord Sugar Right you three sit down. This is the second task in a row that Team MoJ have failed and I am sick of the bloody sight of you lot. So come on then Chris, you were project manager, why wasn’t this all your fault?

Chris Grayling Well Lord Sugar, as project manager the most important role is to delegate responsibility and you’ll notice that a lot of the actual presentation was done by McNally because he said he had the skills to bring this home and I trusted him.

Lord McNally Hid behind me more like.

Lord Sugar But you did…

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We received this yesterday, 11th June, before the Justice Select Committee hearing, and before Lord McNally’s “hysterical” outburst on Law in Action, in an admirable interview by @joshuarozenberg.

Then this morning, Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail attacks the “ashtray” voice of Michael Turner QC, and the “Biker” Lucy Scott Moncrieff whilst railing about legal aid lawyers in sharp suits on £200 per hour.

Who knows how far into the public arena this blog reaches? This post is certainly not one likely to feature in the Mail, as they do not have the wit or the guts to publish anything that offends against their slavish toadying to the likes of Grayling and his ilk.

If you sense anger in this introduction you are right. Far too much of what appears below strikes personal chords with your editor, as indeed it will with the vast majority of those practitioners who…

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Letter to the Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice

This is just too good to miss.


A letter to the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, Secretary of State for Justice

Mr Chris Grayling.

16th May 2013

Dear Lord Chancellor,

Can I congratulate you on your splendid proposals for reforming criminal legal aid, set out in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) paper on 9th April 2013? I see that after the so-called ‘consultation period’, you propose to change the law by signing a statutory instrument and thereby circumventing both Houses of Parliament. I agree that they can’t be trusted on a matter of such importance.

When you first proposed (1) price competitive tendering for criminal solicitors’ firms and (2) the removal of every defendant’s right to the legal aid criminal solicitor of his/her choice I was surprised and worried. I could see one practical reason for it. By forcing each defendant to have the criminal solicitor allocated to them by the state, it guarantees a…

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