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Ford's Justice Ministry work deserves praise

Published 08/08/2016

In relation to a recent article quoting Edwin Poots on legal aid and David Ford's performance as Justice Minister, as usual Mr Poots has not let the facts get in the way of a story.

David Ford made a number of positive reforms to our legal aid system.

He ended very high-cost criminal cases, introduced standard fees and cut total bills by £20m a year, while preserving access to justice, which has been lost in England and Wales.

Public confidence in the justice system and satisfaction levels in the PSNI increased, while rates of offending and the number of first-time entrants into the justice system are going in the opposite direction.

In addition millions of pounds seized from criminals were diverted back into the community and new laws brought in to tackle sexual crimes, fuel-laundering and increase sentencing and fines for those guilty of animal cruelty offences.

That fundamental reform to the justice system during the six years that Alliance had charge of the ministry was far more substantial than for a generation, all around building a safer and shared community.

Those outcomes show David Ford was one of the best-performing ministers in the last Executive - certainly more so than the author of the original letter.


MLA for Lagan Valley

Belfast Telegraph

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