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English Lawyers between Market and StateThe Politics of Professionalism$
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Richard L Abel

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198260349

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260349.001.0001

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Labour Ends Legal Aid as We Know It

Labour Ends Legal Aid as We Know It

Chapter:
(p.293) 8 Labour Ends Legal Aid as We Know It
Source:
English Lawyers between Market and State
Author(s):

RICHARD L. ABEL

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260349.003.0008

Labour had equivocated on legal aid. As shadow Home Secretary, Tony Blair declared that any attempt to slash the legal aid budget would be disastrous for the legal system and for the many ordinary citizens. Lord Irvine told 500 solicitors that Lord Mackay's 1995 Green Paper had the fingerprints of the treasury all over it but conceded Labour had no quick fixes and no new money. Anticipating the 1997 general election, Irvine promised at the September 1996 annual Bar conference to restore legal aid to the status of a public social service. Universal contributions were a ‘powerful deterrent’ to accepting legal aid. At the same time, Irvine did not rule out a budget cap, the hope was to have QCs' fees regulated. After the Labour landslide, the Solicitors Journal hoped the presence of seven lawyers in the Cabinet would be good news for the legal profession. Labour promised a less confrontational approach.

Keywords:   legal aid, solicitors, Green Paper, annual Bar conference, budget cap

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