Law Society President Update on Roadshows
Dear Council Member
I would like to provide you with an update on the legal aid roadshows the Law Society has been doing around England and Wales to speak with and listen to criminal practitioners. Please feel free to share this letter with your constituents.
After the SGM the Law Society made a commitment to engage more with our members. As a result, since the start of the year the Vice President, Andrew Caplen, and our Head of Legal Aid policy, Richard Miller, have made a number of visits around England and Wales and our Chief Executive has visited Manchester. They have been made very welcome and the exchange of views has been frank and constructive. Although it is clear most of the attendees recognise the political realities we are all facing, the loudest message we have heard is our members are concerned about two-tier contracts.
We have been able to tell them we have never sought a two-tier arrangement for duty solicitor contracts. In the face of the Ministry of Justice’s desire to ration the number we have pushed for an evidence-based analysis of the market and insisted that as many contracts as possible are available, there is maximum flexibility in terms of business models and final decisions are take on the basis of independent evidence from KPMG and Andrew Otterburn. If the evidence shows that there is an unacceptably high risk to our members, then the Government will need to reconsider their proposals.
We are hearing you wanted us to gather all the evidence against the cuts together in one easy accessible place. We have done that. You can find a link to our webpage demonstrating how the evidence support Law Society arguments here. Please forward the link to your constituents.
As we fight to secure further changes, we are determined to do more to reach out to as many members as possible. We appreciate the time members have taken to come and speak to us and I promise you that we are taking into account the wide variety of views we hear from the criminal practitioners who attend. The greater the input from our membership, the stronger we are in fighting the cuts that threaten our profession, and our ability to serve those in need of its services.
Andrew and Richard will be continuing with their meetings. Future events are planned for Brighton, Liverpool, Peterborough, Exeter and Cornwall.
If you would like to find out more or would like the office holders to visit your region, please contact our senior relationship manager, John O’Brien, on 020 7320 5876 or by email at john.o’firstname.lastname@example.org.
With best wishes,
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
t: 020 7320 5603
m: 07875 886315
f: 020 7320 5759
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