There has been no new money invested into the solicitor’s side of the profession for some 25 plus years . Indeed in that time , not only has there been no new money , but there has been cut after cut after cut , to such an extent that the number of providers in only the last few years has fallen by 25% . In the last few months , since the CPS were awarded the sum of £ 82million for a recruitment drive for 390 new Prosecutors, defence lawyers have been leaving their defence work attracted by the much higher remuneration packages on offer from CPS . These are salaries with which hard pressed crime firms are simply unable to compete . Less than 3% of trainee solicitors undertake any criminal law training and even less take it up on qualification. We know that the national average age of duty solicitors is 47 and it’s only going to get worse .
The sums discussed in this latest consultation simply do not address this crisis . If the Govt is serious in its intention to carry out a legal aid review and to save the criminal justice system from total collapse , then the proposals in this consultation certainly do not support that intention. .
It should come as no surprise to anyone if the profession takes the view that now is the time for action