Protest For Justice: Revoke plans proposed by the Justice Minister in regards to Criminal Legal Aid Contributions
The Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill seeks to make radical changes to the availability of criminal legal aid to ordinary people in Scotland. It will result in many on low level incomes who currently qualify, requiring to fund part or all of their legal costs to defend themselves against charges brought by the state.
The main issues of concern are:
1. A lowering of the eligibility threshold to £82 per week disposable income and £750 savings.
2. A steep rise in the contribution levels which will deny access to justice for many on low level incomes.
3. No refund of contribution in the event of acquittal.
4. Solicitors to collect contributions direct from accused persons creating conflict and delay for the legal system.
5. Further cuts to be borne by solicitors
6. Increased number of unrepresented accused against professional prosecutors.
We urge the Scottish Government to revoke their plans in the interests of fairness and justice.