2 Sep 2009

Legal aid cap fraught with difficulties - lawyers

10:15 pm on 2 September 2009

Some criminal lawyers say any move to cap the legal aid budget would be fraught with difficulties.

A discussion document issued as part of a review of the legal aid system floats the possibility of capping spending and bulk-funding legal aid lawyers as a way of containing rising costs.

Defence lawyer Gary Gotleib says a funding cap could effect the amount of money available to lawyers to fund experts, or to prepare for cases and would ultimately lead to fewer people being eligible for legal aid.

The Criminal Bar Association says it would result in more people choosing to represent themselves in court if that happens.

President Anthony Rogers says this would have "diabolical consequences" for the criminal justice process.