Changes to the UK’s legal system
The Government’s proposed cuts to Legal Aid jeopardised the livelihoods of all criminal barristers operating in that area. With only a few weeks of the consultation period remaining, we were asked to influence the tone of reporting and ultimately to ensure the message reached the very top of government.
As a result, the Government shelved their proposed reforms.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling proposed changes to the UK’s legal aid system which he stated would save the taxpayer £220 million. Measures discussed included price competitive tendering for legal contracts, the removal of choice of legal representative and an income cut off for legal aid for couples earning more than £37,500 as their joint income.
We were tasked by the Criminal Bar Association, comprising of the six circuit leaders of the Criminal Bar, with putting forward their strong objections to the proposed reforms to the British justice system through the media, in the 40 days leading up to the consultation period deadline.
Having determined key messages which would resonate with middle England votes – those most likely to be hit by the cuts – we targeted local, regional, national and broadcast Press through a combination of research articles, expert comment interviews, personal case studies and survey data.
Over 25 powerful pieces of national coverage was delivered including; BBC News Channel, The Mail on Sunday, FT Weekend, The Times, Daily Telegraph and London Evening Standard were achieved. As a result, the Government shelved their proposed reforms.