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Scrapping of lowest bidder plan for legal aid welcomed
3:00pm Monday 9th September 2013 in News
HAMPSHIRE lawyers have welcomed the Government’s decision to abandon plans for awarding legal aid contracts to the lowest bidder.
But law firms remain angry at other measures to slash the UK’s annual £1 billion legal bill, which include a 17.5 per cent reduction in the legal aid fees they can charge.
Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine, who sits on the justice select committee, has previously expressed concern at the potential loss of client choice that would have come with price competition.
But justice minister Chris Grayling now says plans to hand contracts to firms who put in the lowest bid will be scrapped.
Barrister Andy Houston, of Winchester’s Pump Court Chambers, said: “I’m delighted they have abandoned price competitive tendering. That was a very bad idea and it does look as though they have changed their mind.”
Roderick Hursthouse, president of the Hampshire Law Society, said: “We still think that our members undertaking criminal defence work face a very challenging future, but we consider that today’s proposal represented the best achievable outcome.”
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