The coalition is committed to cutting Legal Aid costs by 30%, which has become a classic issue of tension between the Judiciary and government. yesterday Justice Leonard halted a big fraud trial due to a lack of legal representation for the defendants – due to the cuts (which are due to come into full effect in the summer 2015). This case and issue of Legal Aid is now going to the Appeal Courts as this link explains.
President Neuberger (President of the Supreme Court) is one voice amongst many in the judiciary who has already spoken out against these cuts (2013) and the access to courts they will have for thousands of people (So, for us is this a current example of Judicial neutrality jeopardised?… Or Judicial activism in action? … You decide!). Meanwhile Chris Greyling (Minister of Justice) has defended the sweeping changes to Legal Aid, introduced as part of the austerity cuts post-the 2010 election, as the UK has the largest Legal Aid bill in the E.U (However, is this an attack on civil liberties and access to a free and fair trial?… You decide!).
Either way, this is an excellent example of the inherent tensions that can exist between the Judiciary and government (a must for Unit 2’s Judiciary & Civil Liberties topic)… Keep your eye on this story!