Personally, I welcome the proposed cuts in legal aid. However, shaving off just under £4 million a year is hardly going to make much of a saving (your report, 8 November). The Scottish Government currently pays a total of £160m a year in respect of legal aid. This, like most of the other money the government frivolously spends, comes from taxes that are taken from the hard working part of society.
Legal aid is money paid to provide legal representation (in both criminal and civil matters) to people who do not work or cannot afford a solicitor.
There are many things that I cannot afford and as a result I have to do without. Even though I work full time, I would find it extremely hard to come up with the finances required to pay for the services of a solicitor. I do not qualify for legal aid and would have to borrow money to pay for the privilege of being represented. How is this system fair? Once again, taxpayers are paying for a benefit that they will never receive.
And besides, being given free legal advice is hardly a deterrent for someone not to commit a crime again.
If everyone had to pay a contribution towards the solicitor’s services, then I am sure it would make people think twice about committing crime in the first place.
Either that or increase the amount of fines that can be issued to people to prevent matters from ever seeing the inside of the court room, thus cutting out the requirement for a solicitor.
You have to laugh at the Law Society of Scotland’s comments, calling the matter a “crisis” and saying that solicitor firms would be turned into “unpaid debt collectors” responsible for collecting outstanding fees.
Is it acceptable for the state to reliably pay for their clients’ legal fees in the first instance, and then for the accused to later default on the fine imposed by the court, starting the whole court process all over again?
The government is using the word “contribution” to describe the financial element. Until further details are released, solicitors might want to hold off calling the situation a “crisis” or calling for industrial action.