The Express is expressing concern about the government’s plans – a worthwhile thing to do and a poser for those of us who had previously condemned it for its politics and interests. It is a dreadful thought that we may not have been entirely correct. But, faced with evidence, it is always necessary to reassess. That is what honest and sensible people do.
So, I want to draw attention to what is said in the penultimate paragraph of that article. In full, this is what it says:
The Justice Secretary added: “We will continue to uphold everyone’s right to a fair trial – quality assured duty solicitors and lawyers will still be available just as they are now – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look again at how the system which provides this is operated and deliver better value for the £1 billion of taxpayers’ money spent on criminal legal aid a year.”
It is a direct quote from our beloved Lord Chancellor. The part which struck me with some force was the bit that says (with my emphasis added):
quality assured duty solicitors and lawyers will still be available just as they are now
That does seem to indicate that QASA and the new proposals are linked – exactly as the Bar has been saying.
That now being seemingly confirmed direct from the horse’s mouth (oooh – so polite), this may be a good time for those at the BSB who have been saying the opposite, to reassess the position. That may be painful, but it will also be sensible and honest. I am perfectly happy to accept that our beloved LC has never said this before – but he has said it now. As Dorothy Parker said (I paraphrase) you can’t trust blokes who promise to love you.
Circumstances alter cases. It is now possible to argue, based on the evidence, that forcing QASA through will actually assist the Government to progress its plans to endanger us all. If that is even a possibility, it ought not to happen.
There may be a counter-argument. If so then, if I am sent it, I will publish it in full.