The Government received another blow to its legal aid reforms yesterday (Tuesday 27 March) as an overwhelming 99 per cent of firms surveyed by the Law Society rallied against the “perilous” reforms to the forthcoming unified contract.
Law Society chief executive Des Hudson, who is leading a challenge to the contract, branded the Government as “cavalier” in the potential risks to the legal system.
The survey found that almost two-thirds of legal aid firms will not sign, or are considering not signing the unified contract, while a further 11 per cent said they would leave legal aid provision altogether.
Hudson said that the risk to those who relied on legal aid was “reckless”, and that civil legal aid practitioners would be forced to choose between signing the contract, or “stop doing legal aid work”.
“Legal aid is already on its knees,” Hudson added. “If the Government continues to drive these cuts forward they may sign the death knell for publicly funded legal representation across England and Wales.”