United Kingdom

18 June 2020

The Law Society warns about a possible collapse of criminal legal aid in the UK

As to a press release issued yesterday by the Law Society of England and Wales, 120 criminal firms have already collapsed, and more are expected to follow. Thus, the Law Society demands more from government proposals, and for this reason submitted a supplemental response to a consultation on interim proposals of the criminal legal aid review, as they fear that the COVID-19 crisis could lead to the downfall of criminal legal aid. 

The Law Society advised this week that there has been a drop of 10% in criminal legal aid firms compared to 2019, with 124 fewer firms than last year. The accelerated items proposed by the government, which were a hope of much-needed relief for many, failed to tackle the situation even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Simon Davis, President of the Law Society, comments that “as a result of the pandemic, work for criminal legal aid firms has fallen through the floor – leaving many hanging on for survival. Without urgent intervention, there is danger that many more duty solicitor schemes will face imminent collapse.” He adds “we have made clear since the start of the pandemic that criminal legal aid firms are facing a triple whammy: immediate cashflow problems, short to medium term permanent loss of income, and the pre-existing crisis of sustainability. Unless the government addresses all three, there is a serious risk of widescale market collapse.”

For further details have a look at the original press release of the Law Society. 

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