Your right to justice should not be contingent on the size of your bank account, and for decades our legal system has been founded on the belief that anyone, wealthy or impoverished, is treated the same, and this entire premise is now under threat because of Tory cuts.
And fees have sunk so low that now innocent people are not able to get decent representation in court, while the rich can afford top-class defence lawyers to purchase their freedom, but the range of devastation that’s been created by this Tory government doesn’t end there.
Cuts to legal aid have locked people with housing difficulties or employment problems out of the justice system. Budget reductions mean fewer offences are examined by police, while a cash-strapped CPS is prosecuting fewer cases.
This is the legacy of Conservative austerity, criminals going free, the innocent punished with the rich being able to purchase special treatment, and the evidence is clear, ministers are guilty of bringing our justice system to its knees.
And the Tory’s should be in the dock for using public funds to buy or influence support from a pretty culpable political party, just so they can cling onto their jobs and power. Bribery is a crime, and this is an abuse of public funds.
But then why do ordinary people vote Tory, they must like being cheated and deceived because they keep on doing it? And maybe we should be condemning the Hyacinth Buckets out there that actually believe that voting Tory makes them a cut above their friends.
Officially we have the worst politicians in UK history, people are experiencing the severest austerity, and this has contributed to numerous deaths to the poor and disabled, with cuts to NHS, police, and banks and power companies who make more money, more profit and the wealthiest get wealthier.
Legal aid has ended for the needy, so they can’t argue back and get justice, so yes, of course, the Tories should be put in the dock for atrocities to humankind.
Where’s “Wolfie” and the Tooting Popular Front when we need him?
The justice system actually isn’t about justice, it’s never been fair and that’s exactly the way the privileged classes like it, they slam the poor for the smallest step off the straight and narrow, while they get away with the most outrageous atrocities owing to their connections.
So many people are being denied access to justice because of the cuts in Legal aid, and Legal aid cuts force parents to abandon their fight for their children because numerous parents can’t possibly afford solicitors fees and are now confronted with the likelihood of losing their children or financial rights on divorce or the especially formidable probability of representing themselves in an old-fashioned justice system that’s not designed with them in mind.
And it high points these Legal aid cuts, clearly demonstrating the harm caused to men, women and families without representation that are caught up in a totally one-sided legal fight against ruthless adversaries, and it’s cruel of the government to consign disadvantaged people to ill-treatment by ruthless landlords, employers, public authorities or retailers just because they can’t afford to employ a lawyer to enforce their rights.
We’re continually told how the Legal aid act has mounted to an unaffordable level, but it would be informative to know how far this is due to the enormous amounts doled out in high-profile commercial matters as opposed to the comparatively minor amounts needed to help people with genuine legal requirements, and I speculate that the voters would prefer to support the latter at the expense of the former.
We’re now seeing the appalling effects of legal underfunding, as people are forced to defend themselves with only the haziest notion of what they’re doing, and being a barrister has often been associated with allurement, intrigue and financial profit, but these imminent reforms that we’re seeing to our legal system now have lawyers fearing for their livelihoods, why? And who stands to suffer the most?
It really reveals the sad state of affairs when a barristers wig and gown were posted on eBay because some barrister had hung up their wig, gown and collar after five long years of slog and penury, but the life of a barrister used to be abundant with mystique, evoking Rumpole and Dickens, cobbled lanes, grand Inns of Court, dazzling rhetoric and exciting cases concerning murder, abduction, gangsters and drug lords.
But few people will shed a tear over the demise of the barrister, but if any of these people were in trouble, if their freedom was on the line or if they were the victim of a grave offence, then they would want a barrister with years of experience, rather than someone who had been sent by Tesco, not because they’re the best choice, but because they’re actually the cheapest.
The government claimed that it must cut £220 million from the £1 billion Legal aid budget, which funds criminal barristers and various small solicitors firms. To willow down the system, in 1994 solicitors were given the freedom to handle basic advocacy in the courts. This lead to a huge reduction in demand for the services of junior barristers who used to cut their teeth on simple cases.
Solicitors tended to adhere to the magistrate’s court, leaving the more pressing work such as murder and rape cases to barristers with years of training in speech and distinct details of the law, but with the modifications that have been launched following government pressure that has been executed, solicitors and in-house advocates, barristers acting only for big companies appear to be considered qualified enough to handle the most complex Crown Court cases after completing only a weekend quality assurance course.
But the government stated that the scheme was intended to guarantee that solicitors and barristers only handle cases in court where they’re qualified to do so and will be tiered so higher accreditation was needed for the most demanding cases, but barristers, however, believe it’s a smoke-screen to give any contributor of legal services a façade of propriety.
And to stand in court and thrive upon the many intellectual and psychological relationships between the judge, jury and client, and to keep all the balls in the air is quite a difficult thing to do, but I’m sure they’re used to it, it’s like second nature to them, but it also takes years to be able to do that, and the notion that you can master it in a £350 two-day course is ridiculous.
And the ultimate nail in the coffin came when Chris Grayling proposed best-value tendering, where firms tendered for Legal aid contracts, to be granted not on merit but to the lowest bidder, and agreements were given to multinational solicitors and firms such as Stobart’s, not to mention others such as the AA and Saga, both of which displayed an interest in expanding into this area.
And hundreds of small solicitors firms and barristers chambers that can’t afford to tender will feasibly go out of business overnight, and even before these squeezes on possible work and pay, numerous junior criminal barristers are struggling to survive, with most getting about £10,000 a year after tax, VAT and their various expenses for things such as travelling and chambers’ rent, which are typically 20 per cent of earnings which are taken into account, for the first five years of their careers.
Being a legal-aid barrister is no longer a job, it’s a hobby, and perhaps a nice one for those with an independent income, but you can’t make a living from it, at least not in the first four or five years, and it’s often pretty genuinely true that you’d seemingly be better off on benefits.