The department’s first major spending decision since Michael Gove became justice secretary triggered protests from lawyers who had hoped to avoid economies left unresolved from the previous parliament.
The decision to go ahead with most of the savings outlined by former justice secretary Chris Grayling was greeted with dismay by professional bodies who warned that firms would be forced to close. Separate planned cuts to advocacy fees have, however, been suspended.
A written parliamentary statement from Shailesh Vaira, the minister responsible for legal aid, said the 8.75% fee reduction – the second within a year – would come into force on 1 July.
The number of contracts for providing duty lawyers to advise suspects detained in police stations or defendants at magistrates courts will also be reduced from 1,600 to 527. Whether fewer contracts will result in fewer lawyers is not yet clear
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