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Response to the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid’s Call for Evidence

7 May 2021

“The Howard League believes that the structure of criminal legal aid is unsustainable and that it must be reformed. This applies to criminal legal aid across the board. However, this consultation response has focused on how the current criminal legal aid system negatively impacts publicly funded prison and criminal appeal lawyers and their clients.

“The fee structure should be amended to properly renumerate prison lawyers for the work which they have done and allow practitioners to sufficiently prepare for parole cases without working for free. The Government should also bring sentence planning back into the scope of legal aid, to ensure that the criminal legal aid system meets the needs of people in prison, victims and the public.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created significant new challenges for prison lawyers, as well as some helpful developments which should be retained. Criminal legal aid should recognise the additional work which practitioners have been doing during the pandemic and should properly resource practitioners who represent clients at remote hearings in future.”

Read the full response

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