Changes have to be made to cut legal aid costs
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?