A ground-breaking legal action has been started by the Law Society over a change that has forced people found “not guilty” in criminal trials to pay their own legal costs in full.
The society has instructed the law firm Kingsley Napley to start proceedings, accusing the Government of “misusing its powers for an improper purpose”.
The action comes over a new rule that took effect in October preventing acquitted defendants from recouping the full legal costs of defending themselves.
Instead, they can only claim back legal aid rates, which can be as little as a third of the true cost. The change will save an estimated £25 million a year.
So the Government can charge you with something….oooooh, let\’s say something nice and complex like VAT fraud…..and when found not guilty you\’re still bankrupted by your legal costs.
They seem to have been copying the worst parts of the worst legal systems over the years: your assets can and will be confiscated if you\’re found not guilty, your assets can and sometimes are frozen so that you cannot pay for your own defence and now this.
There was something which we\’d largely got right. Took us near a thousand years to do so with a number of revolutions, civil wars, bloody rebellions and all, but we got there. You couldn\’t be tried twice for the same crime, we thought it far worse to imprison the innocent than to let some guilty go free, you had a right to a fair trial and so on….presumption of innocence, see the evidence against you, no punishment without trial and so rumpety pumpety on. Now the major building blocks of that system of civil liberties seem to have been destroyed in only 12 short years.
There\’s only one word for it I\’m afraid.