When I first started at the bar in the early 1980s, my practice was largely publicly funded by legal aid and much of it was crime and family work. I travelled across London and south-east England representing clients in crown, county and magistrates courts. Most of these buildings were Victorian and lacked the facilities to cope with the growing volume of criminal and civil cases.But there were signs of change. At Maidstone, where I was a frequent visitor, the Queen came to open the new court centre. She spoke of how the provision of justice was the essential first “social service” provided by the state, and central to her coronation oath. The resident judge, John Streeter, had worked hard to get a building that could help deliver an effective justice system. There were many more courts; rooms for consultations with clients; and a bar mess, where, apart from being able to buy hot food, there was the privacy to get advice from colleagues and to resolve issues with one’s opponent. A couple of years after it opened, visiting officials of the Lord Chancellor’s Department were holding it up as an exemplar for the future, noting that it had a reputation for efficiency and high professional standards of delivery.
For full article https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/05/uk-justice-system-court-buildings-legal-aid-cuts?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=LiP%27s+%c2%a3100k+costs+bill+%7c+Firm%27s+%27thank+you%27+to+staff+%7c+Covid+certification_04%2f06%2f2021