Is Legal Aid worth the £900million cost?
Is Legal Aid worth the £900million cost? Independent review will probe whether scheme gives taxpayers value for money
- Launching in January, review will be led by former judge Sir Christopher Bellamy
- The long-term sustainability of the criminal legal aid market will be the focus
- Comes after killers of PC Andrew Harper were given £720,000 in legal aid
An independent review will probe whether the Legal Aid scheme is providing value for money to the taxpayer.
The long-term sustainability of the criminal legal aid market will be the focus of the probe, it was confirmed today.
Launching in January, the review will be led by former judge Sir Christopher Bellamy.
The far-reaching analysis will look at the criminal legal aid market in its entirety and will specifically seek to ensure that it is ‘delivered in a way that provides value for money to the taxpayer’, according to the Government website.
An independent review will probe whether the Legal Aid scheme is providing value for money to the taxpayer (file image)
It comes after last month it was revealed that the killers of PC Andrew Harper had been awarded £720,000 in legal aid.
Henry Long, 19, was jailed for 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13 years in custody for the manslaughter of the Thames Valley Police traffic officer who was dragged to his death behind a car.
The money was paid to lawyers defending Long and his accomplices.
In another example speedboat killer Jack Shepherd got £93,000 in legal aid, despite not attending his trial and going on the run.
He was responsible for the death of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown in 2015.
London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan was also awarded £355,560 in legal aid to cover his legal costs.
Khan, 28, was out on licence from prison when he killed two people and injured three others in the stabbing last year, before being shot dead by armed police.
The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, said: ‘Criminal defence lawyers play a crucial role in upholding the law, representing clients and protecting their right to a fair trial.
‘This independent review will be wide-ranging and ambitious, ensuring the criminal legal aid market remains effective and sustainable, while reflecting the diverse society it serves.
‘I am grateful to the sector for its continued cooperation and look forward to this important work commencing in earnest in the new year.’
Chair of the Review, Sir Christopher Bellamy, said: ‘The criminal legal aid sector is a vital pillar of the justice system.
‘I look forward to engaging with all stakeholders on this review, which aims to give the criminal legal aid sector long-term sustainability.’
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