Criminal legal aid accounts for more than half of the legal aid budget and this proportion will increase if government proposals to cut civil entitlement are implemented. Entitlement to legal aid in criminal cases is protected by Article 6 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights and is a concern of the European Union as it develops programmes for mutual recognition in criminal matters. Our work in this area, therefore, overlaps with our coverage of human rights issues and our involvement in EU matters.
Remuneration in criminal matters is about to be cut as a result of coalition government proposals and there are plans to contract criminal legal services to limited numbers of providers on the basis of competitive tendering. We have been deeply engaged in debates as to future policy.
February 2011 – see our response to the Legal Aid Green Paper