Following the legal aid cuts that came into force at the beginning of April, the Ministry of Justice has announced it plans to go further in an effort to deliver additional savings of £220 million per year by 2018/19.
The proposed cuts includes cutting legal aid from prisoners to fund cases on such as treatment issues; the introduction of a household disposable income threshold above which defendants would no longer receive criminal legal aid; a residence test for civil legal aid claimants; reforms to reduce the use of legal aid to fund judicial reviews that are perceived to be 'weak'; and amendments to the civil merits test to prevent the funding of any cases with less than a 50% chance of success.
The MoJ's new consultation, Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a more credible and efficient system, sets out proposals to reduce solicitor representation fees in family public law cases by 10%, to align the fees for barristers and other advocates in non-family cases, and to remove the 35% uplift in provider legal aid fees in immigration and asylum appeals.
The deadline for responses to the consultation is midnight on Tuesday 4 June 2013. The Government will respond to the consultation in autumn 2013.