that some people will look at the legal aid fees paid to lawyers and in some cases think them excessive. That's something for parliament to address - if they feel the system is paying to highly in some circumstances they have the power to impose limits.
We have to be careful however. We live in a society that has decided it will pay the legal costs of those people who are financially unable to defend themselves when faced with prosecutions for certain (not all) offences. This is because - as has already been said - we believe that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. We must not deny such people the right to defend themselves, even if it means that we end up paying for the lawyers out of the public purse.
If we place strict limits on what we'll pay then we run the risk that lawyers will be uninterested in legal aid work, and will decline to accept it, and that could mean that innocent people are undefended - or poorly defended - and may suffer as a result.
I'm not defending the size of some legal fees, but I am defending the system that pays them. In my opinion the legal aid system is one of the better law reforms of the 20th century.
but, in this supposedly affluent society of ours, these costs to the Public Purse have been spiralling to heady heights. There was talk some time ago of the government looking into this but, like several announcements of late, seem to have been put on the back burner.
Of course, let the state help those in genuine need but I do think a honest and fair review is long overdue on legal aid. TC.
that a legal aid review is something of a poisoned chalice in political terms. Undoubtedly there has been abuse of the system - although I'm not suggesting that's the case here - and undoubtedly there's a need for some kind of review, but where would you start? It's an incredibly complex problem.
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