More guilty pleas as a result of cuts
11th February 2014
Lawyers are warning that legal aid cuts are leading to more guilty pleas, as solicitors are put under increasing pressure to persuade their clients to plead this way in court. The news comes as a result of legal aid cuts forcing solicitors to attempt to minimise the length of court proceedings.
The planned legal aid cuts that are being put forward in an attempt to save £220 million a year, according to the Ministry of Justice, will affect members of the legal sector across a range of positions, from judiciary to locum family solicitor jobs.
The main concern of the planned cuts is that solicitors will be put under unsustainable economic pressure; they are currently attending court repeatedly for the same cases for minimal fees, leading to pressure to convince the defendant to plead guilty.
As president of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, Paul Harris, told a barristers meeting, as reported in this article, in certain cases ‘there would be a 12% rise in fee’ if the defendant pleads guilty.