The Tories’ plans to cut criminal legal aid by £220 million have been thrown into chaos after the consultation process was ruled illegal.
Lawyers challenged the cuts which will reduce the number of contracts for duty solicitor work in magistrates’ courts and police stations from 1,600 to 525.
High Court judge Mr Justice Burnett said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation process denied lawyers the right to comment on two reports by accountants. He said this was “unfair as to result in illegality”.
London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association president Nicola Hill said, “This is a great day for justice.”
Yet ministers have said that “cost cutting” would continue despite the ruling.
The Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association said they would seek a royal commission into funding for access to justice.