Exchange Chambers backs Law Society and practitioner groups after Court of Appeal blow

March 26, 2015

The Court of Appeal has given the go-ahead for the government’s controversial legal aid reforms by dismissing an appeal by the Law Society and practitioner groups.

It refused to extend an injunction suspending the tender process until Monday while the Law Society seeks to take its case to the Supreme Court. The injunction expired yesterday.

The Law Society is seeking to lodge an application with the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision, and get the application heard on Monday.

Society president Andrew Caplen said: “The Court of Appeal decision is a devastating blow. We remain concerned that vulnerable people may not be able to obtain legal representation if they are accused of wrongdoing.

“This is why we challenged government plans to reduce criminal legal aid contracts as they could affect anyone accused of a crime and the solicitors who provide high-quality legal help, including 24-hour coverage for police stations.

“Without proper legal representation there may be miscarriages of justice. Criminal legal aid solicitors are critical for ensuring that anyone accused of a crime has a fair trial.”

Tom Handley, Director of Chambers at Exchange Chambers re-iterated the Set’s support for the Law Society and practitioner groups the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA).

He said “We are extremely disappointed with this decision and continue to actively support the Law Society, CLSA and LCCSA in their fight to preserve the principles of access to justice and equality before the law.”