We all know the lord chancellor doesn’t greatly care what lawyers think of his plans for legal aid, but Obiter thought he might have some sympathy for the views of victims of crime. Didn’t his party’s 2010 manifesto say something about being ‘on the side of victims’?
Given the lack of any formal assessment of the impact of the Transforming Legal Aid proposals on victims and witnesses, the Gazette’s newshounds set out to solicit some views.
We started by emailing the Victims’ Commissioner, Lady Newlove (pictured), to see if she had any concerns about defence work being carried out by poor quality, cheaply employed lawyers, or cases being prosecuted by inadequate prosecutors.
A couple of days later, a lady called back on behalf of the commissioner, informing us that Newlove ‘had not commented’ on this issue. Fine, we suggested – would she now care to do so?
Our caller repeated that the issue was not one that Newlove had commented upon. Although our caller had not identified herself fully, her voice sounded familiar. Sure enough, it was one of our regular contacts in the press office of… the Ministry of Justice.Obiter has immense respect for Lady Newlove – who, never forget, was catapulted into the public eye by a dreadful crime. If she would care to call, the Law Society’s number is in the book.