Nicholas Fluck, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales has asked Bristol Law Society to update our members following a number of recent legal aid roadshows around the country. Since the start of the year, the Vice President, Andrew Caplen, and Head of Legal Aid policy, Richard Miller, have made a number of visits around England and Wales. They have hailed the events as “frank and constructive” and have noted that “the loudest message we have heard is our members are concerned about two-tier contracts“.
“We have been able to tell them we have never sought a two-tier arrangement for duty solicitor contracts. In the face of the Ministry of Justice’s desire to ration the number we have pushed for an evidence-based analysis of the market and insisted that as many contracts as possible are available, there is maximum flexibility in terms of business models and final decisions are take on the basis of independent evidence from KPMG and Andrew Otterburn. If the evidence shows there is an unacceptably high risk to our members, then the Government will need to reconsider their proposals.
We are also hearing you wanted us to gather all the evidence against the cuts together in one easy accessible place. We have done that. You can find a link to our webpage demonstrating how the evidence supports Law Society arguments here. Please forward the link to your members.
As we fight to secure further changes, we are determined to do more to reach out to as many members as possible. We appreciate the time members have taken to come and speak to us and I promise you that we are taking into account the wide variety of views we hear from the criminal practitioners who attend. The greater the input from our membership, the stronger we are in fighting the cuts that threaten our profession, and our ability to serve those in need of its services.
Andrew and Richard will be continuing with their meetings. Future events are planned for Brighton, Liverpool, Peterborough, Exeter and Cornwall.”