“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.”
“We are staring into an abyss of rough justice. Unrepresented defendants will clog up our criminal courts and thousands of legal aid solicitors will lose their jobs, leaving legal advice deserts in parts of the country.”
He also condemned costs of £1,200 due to be imposed on those convicted at crown court in future as “exorbitant and prohibitive”. The costs, introduced in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act, come into effect on 13 April. Those convicted at magistrates court will have to pay up to £1,000 towards the cost of their trial on top of any fines and a victim surcharge. Defendants on legal aid will not be exempt from the charges.