145 specially appointed Government barristers demand rethink on Legal Aid plans
6 June 2013
145 barristers on the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel have signed a letter seeking that the Government to rethink its plans for reform of Legal Aid. I was one of the signatories. The letter is reproduced on the Legal Aid Changes blog.
The letter relates specifically to Judicial Review, which is an area in which Panel counsel practise regularly. Here is a taster:
We consider that the proposals in the Consultation Paper will undermine the accountability of public bodies to the detriment of society as a whole and the vulnerable in particular. Those who are reliant on legal aid are most likely to be at the sharp end of the exercise of government power and are least likely to be able to fund judicial review for themselves, or effectively act in person.
The Attorney General’s Panel is a group of barristers (sometimes referred to, confusingly, as Treasury Counsel) who have been specially appointed to act for Government departments in court. There are three levels of panel: A, B and C, with A being the most senior and C being the least. 145 represents a significant proportion of the panels.