LCD strikes back at QC

Martin Bowley's article (The Lawyer, 26 May), accused the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), of intellectual dishonesty, political cynicism and trying to distract attention from the Lord Chancellor's proposals for legal aid reform by publishing the names of lawyers and firms who have received sums from the Legal Aid Fund.

We are talking about taxpayers' money. There is nothing new or wrong in the LCD stating how that money is spent in response to parliamentary questions. Similar questions were answered in the same way by the last government.

As for trying to distract attention from the Lord Chancellor's proposals for legal aid reform, the LCD has been publicising the proposals and encouraging reaction since the Lord Chancellor's speech on legal aid last October. Geoff Hoon, the Parliamentary Secretary, has made speeches on the subject to lawyers around the country. The Government will continue to state its proposals and reasons for reform publicly and plainly.

Legal aid reform is a complex and important subject. Mr Bowley makes a contribution to the discussion, including citing areas where public money may be wasted paying for over-representation by legal teams in some cases. It is a pity he adds abuse on the merits of reform.

Allan Percival

Director of communications

Lord Chancellor's Department