Justice secretary scraps plan to award legal aid contracts to lowest bidder

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Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed that he has abandoned plans to award legal aid contracts to the lowest bidder.

The Justice Secretary had planned to introduce the price competitive tendering in order to reduce the annual legal aid bill by £350 million, but concerns had been raised by the legal community that the tendering would reduce the quality of representation and restrict a suspect’s right to instruct a lawyer of their own choosing.

Despite the Justice Secretary’s U-turn, Mr Grayling remains committed to reducing the cost of legal aid, and still plans to reduce legal aid fees by 17.5% across the board.

Under the new plans, Prisoners and those individuals whose disposable monthly income exceeds £3000 would be no longer entitled to legal aid, and immigrants will not be entitled to civil legal aid during their first year of residency in the UK.

In addition, the Justice Secretary intends to put a cap on contracts for duty solicitor work.