Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will today say that criminals should pay for the cost of running courts out of their future earnings. He is expected to say:
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.
Legal aid cuts 'could end up costing the taxpayer more'
Speaking on Daybreak, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, president of Law Society, said government plans to reduce the number of civil cases eligible for legal aid - and in turn save money - could in fact end up costing the tax payer more:
Legal aid 'safe-guarded' for those who 'really' need it
We need to make sure taxpayers' money is not spent resolving too many disputes in court, when there are quicker, cheaper and less stressful options available.
At £2 billion a year we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world, and it's now costing taxpayers too much at time when resources are not limitless. We had to make some difficult decisions, and it was not a process we embarked on lightly, but we have safeguarded legal aid to ensure lawyers are there for those who really need them.
The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, warned that "people could start taking the law into their own hands as a result of an inability to seek justice following the government's civil legal aid cuts".
Richard Miller, head of Legal Aid at the Law Society, said: "We have warned the government consistently that, as well as all the knock-on costs, the social consequences will be damaging to the whole of society, not just the vulnerable who will take the worst hit of all."
Solicitors have warned people could start "taking the law into their own hands," as changes to legal aid remove swathes of areas of law from its scope.
The reforms come into effect today, as the government moves to reduce its £2.2 billion legal aid bill by £350 million. Areas impacted include:
Private family law, such as divorce and custody battles
Personal injury cases
Some employment and education law
Immigration cases where the person is not detained
Some debt, housing and benefit issues
Some law firms estimate the reforms will reduce the number of people who qualify for legal aid by 75 percent, meaning around 200,000 fewer cases, while barristers have warned the cuts are the biggest to civil legal aid since the system was introduced in 1949.
Top judge worried legal aid cuts 'have gone too far'
President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger has warned that cuts to legal aid may have gone too far.
Speaking to the BBC he said the two most important things a government can do is protect the country from invasion, and ensure the rule of law at home.
Unless you do those two things, you might as well not bother with welfare, education, health and housing because it is not a country worth living in. Access to justice and an efficient justice system are an essential ingredient of the rule of law.
Rich people can always afford legal advice and representation but unless you have access to legal advice for poorer people, you have not got the rule of law. We are at risk of denying access to justice, and that damages the rule of law.
Lord Neuberger’s comments come as cuts to the £2 billion legal aid come into affect next month.
The government hopes to save £400 million by removing legal aid from most civil cases, such as debt, welfare, family disputes and some housing.
But Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said he would not get into a "slanging" match with Mrs May, though he did say he thought "attacking judges" was not a sensible way for politicians to proceed. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Law in Action programme he said:
"It is unfortunate that the Home Secretary has acted and spoken as she has done."
Ministers have suffered a fresh defeat in the Lords over their controversial reforms of legal aid, putting peers on collision course with the elected Commons. MPs last week overturned a series of 11 defeats inflicted by peers on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
In an attempt to re-insert one of their changes, insisting people should have access to legal services that "effectively meet their needs", was backed by 248 votes to 233, majority 15.
The Government then suffered a second defeat when peers voted by 239 to 236, majority three, to back a Labour amendment on domestic violence despite concessions from ministers.