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Changes have to be made to cut legal aid costs

Published 22/04/2015

It is quite incredible that £100m-plus was spent on legal aid last year (News, April 16). In the interests of justice, there should be a right to free legal representation, but only for those being prosecuted - and not at any cost.

This expense is especially excessive given that the budget for the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has been approximately one-third of this for the past five years.

Surely, the simplest solution is to establish a Public Defence Service, for those being prosecuted, funded and staffed in a way similar to, but of course independent of, the PPS?

Anyone being prosecuted, or wishing to bring a private legal case, may, of course, avail of the services of barristers, or the numerous private legal firms - but at their own expense.

Surely, these successful professionals would be willing to offer "no win, no fee" services, unfunded by the hard-pressed taxpayer?



Belfast Telegraph

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