I welcome the news that Michael Gove, has scrapped the proposed re-structuring of the criminal legal aid system.
It would have been a disaster for justice to have reduced the number of legal aid contracts from 1,600 to 527. Lawyers get a lot of flack but people should be entitled to have a proper choice of representation and that would have been taken away from them.
Of course we all know that it’s not a case of the Justice Secretary deciding to play nicely with lawyers but rather the fact it had not been properly thought through in the first place.
And sadly like lots of other mis-conceived government plans it will have wasted a huge amount of hard working taxpayers’ money, for which guilt lies with his predecessor Chris Grayling, whose other hair-brained schemes in post have already been overturned.
The head-long rush to save money has already meant that dozens of magistrates courts have been closed down, including Guisborough and Tynedale, with Hartlepool under review.
This has led to great inconvenience for those now forced to travel much further and is a long way from the original principle of being tried locally by local magistrates.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East