Legal Aid Review
Launch date: 30/08/2018
Review status: Report published
What is the review about?
We have reviewed changes to the Legal Aid system in Jersey. These changes were originally published in February 2018 in the
Draft Access to Justice (Jersey) Law.
The draft law was withdrawn by the new Chief Minister and an amended version of the draft law was lodged on the 25th February 2019.
We wrote to a number of key stakeholders to ask for their comments on the draft law, and received eight submissions from stakeholders. In tandem, we published a document outlining the differences between the two schemes.
We received a briefing from the Bâtonnier and Chief Executive of the Law Soceity of Jersey on the proposed chagnes to legal aid on 20th August 2018.
We held public hearings with four relevant stakeholders:
The Panel might undertake further scrutiny of the new Legal Aid scheme, which the Chief Minister will be required to publish in due course.
Key changes to the Legal Aid system
The key changes to the legal aid system are:
- Puts the legal aid system on a statutory basis.
- Public law (i.e. mainly criminal) cases would be funded centrally.
- This would be funded through existing resources in the court and case costs budget.
- A new "criminal law panel" would be formed to replace the existing "Tour de Role" system of legal aid.
- Under the current system, lawyers can claim costs from public funds when a defendant is acquitted or the prosecution abandons the trial. This will be replaced by a fixed fee for lawyers in all cases.
- A Legal Aid office would be established to administer the Legal Aid System at a cost of £400k per annum.
- Guidelines for the Legal Aid system would be published by the Chief Minister on advice from the newly formed Legal Aid Guidelines Advisory Committee.
- The Chief Minister would, for the first time, be accountable for the Legal Aid system.
Terms of reference
- What changes are being proposed to Jersey's legal aid system through the draft Access to Justice Law?
- What is the rationale for the proposed changes?
- Will the changes improve the legal aid system for:
- Service users
- The States
- The legal profession
- Does the draft Access to Justice Law implement the desired policy objectives effectively?
- Are there any other areas for concern or issues that need to be considered in relation to the draft Access to Justice Law?
Call for evidence