On 21 August 2020, the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC, wrote to YLAL in response to our submission to the consultation on the accelerated areas of the Criminal Legal Aid Review.
YLAL's full submission to the consultation can be found here.
YLAL believes that the accelerated area proposals are too little, too late.
YLAL is deeply concerned about the sustainability issues which are pervasive throughout the criminal defence profession. Decades of underfunding have lead to unsustinable working practices and unfairly low levels of remuneration. This has meant that not only are young lawyers not attracted to criminal defence as an area of practise, but the defence profession is also haemorrhaging both junior and senior practitioners, who are moving to more sustainable areas of practise. These cuts have slowly but surely decimated the future of the profession and access to justice.
On 17 June 2020, when we published our response to the consultation, we warned that 'without urgent action there may not be a profession left to save.'
Today, we reiterate that warning in our statement in response to the Lord Chancellor's announcment, which can be read here.
YLAL will continue to engage with the Ministry of Justice on both the independent review and the Criminal Legal Aid Review, representing the voices of our members and advocating for the creation of a sustainable criminal legal aid system, promoting fair payment for work and a system which truly ensures justice and enables social mobility within the profession.