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The rise and decline of criminal legal aid in England and Wales

Smith, Thomas; Cape, Ed

Authors

Tom Smith Thomas8.Smith@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Law



Contributors

Asher Flynn
Editor

Jacqueline Hodgson
Editor

Abstract

In this chapter we argue, with regret, that the prospects for criminal legal aid in England and Wales are bleak. We begin by tracing the development of the modern system of criminal legal aid, from its inception as an essential element of the welfare state following the Second World War, to its peak in the 1990s. We then describe and analyse its decline, arguing that whilst the need for economy and efficiency, especially following the global financial crisis of 2007-08, has been used to rationalise government policy in the first decade and a half of the twenty-first century, the roots of that decline are deeper, and reflect an antipathy not only to state welfare provision but also to procedural justice and fair trial. This is followed by an examination of the likely impact of both budget cuts and changes to the arrangements for managing and delivering criminal legal aid. Whilst there are grounds for optimism at the international level, with both the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) recognising the fundamental importance of legal aid in underpinning justice and fair trial, successive British governments have lacked a commitment to developing and sustaining a high quality criminal legal aid system.

Citation

Smith, T., & Cape, E. (2017). The rise and decline of criminal legal aid in England and Wales. In A. Flynn, & J. Hodgson (Eds.), Access to Justice and Legal Aid: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Legal Need (63-86). (1). Hart Publishing

Online Publication Date Jan 26, 2017
Publication Date Jan 26, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2016
Publisher Hart Publishing
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Issue 336
Pages 63-86
Edition 1
Book Title Access to Justice and Legal Aid: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Legal Need
Chapter Number 4
ISBN 9781509900848
Keywords criminal legal aid, criminal procedure, criminal lawyers, criminal justice, access to justice
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/899612
Publisher URL http://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/access-to-justice-and-legal-aid-9781509900848/
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the submitted version of the book chapter prior to review and revisions.

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