Chris Grayling is the MP for Epsom and Ewell;he is also the Justice Secretary. Yes, dear readers, this is the man who has:-
1) Withdrawn entitlement to legal aid for prisoners wishing to challenge their treatment in prison.
2) Imposed a residency test excluding (amongst others) victims of human trafficking (the Roman Catholic Church has condemned the above).
3) And introduced a system for competitive price tendering, ensuring that in all likelihood the company that supervises your imprisonment, may also be the company that defends you in court.
His justification for all these cuts to justice for the impoverished?
“The drop in crime and cases going through the courts, has not been matched by a drop in costs, competitive price tendering should remedy this and is a financial necessity”
And so the 1,600 legal aid contracts that fund legal representation for the poor, have been reduced to 400 radically reducing the defendant’s ability to choose a ‘good’ lawyer.
Just to make sure they get the point, the Ministry of Justice is removing a defendant’s right to choose their lawyer, they are now to take what they’ve been given. after all it’s not as if they’re going to be saddled with the bill is it?
Many may say that Grayling has a point, after all the economy can no longer afford to be a feeding trough for fat cat bankers much less fat cat lawyers.
Though many lawyers will tell you that if you’re looking for real money you’d be better off qualifying as a corporate lawyer or a property lawyer since that is where the real money is.
Those lawyers representing defendants in the courts are nowhere near making that kind of money. These are the experienced, overworked, lawyers who may well find themselves either looking for another area of law in which to practice, or simply wind up working for a subsidiary of G4S.