Latest Public Sector News

09.04.13

Legal costs should be charged to criminals – Grayling

Convicted criminals could have to pay for their own legal defence costs, justice secretary Chris Grayling has proposed.

The move, which could provide further savings on the £1bn legal aid bill, is part of a consultation document due to be published today. Offenders found guilty may have the court’s expenses deducted from their future earnings, Grayling suggested.

Prisoners can already be ordered to make compensation payments to victims, victims’ services, the courts, or other government agencies.

The Ministry of Justice is also considering introducing competitive tendering for contracts to carry out criminal legal aid work in courts. Foreign migrants could have to live in Britain for a year before they can claim legal aid, and prisoners may be prevented from claiming legal aid for cases that do not relate to the length of their sentences.

Grayling said: “Why should the law-abiding, hard-working majority pay for a court service for the minority who break the law?

“Those who live outside the law should pay the consequences both through being punished and bearing more of the costs they impose on society. That is why we are exploring ways to make criminals pay towards the cost of their prosecution to the court.”

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