We were sent this by a hardworking solicitor whose story is so typical of the message that both professions have worked so hard for so long to get across to myopic ideological politicians.
Mr. Grayling we keep saying this, your cuts won’t SAVE money, they will COST money, and this is how. Losing money for “hardworking taxpayers” and destroying Justice for all!
“Last night, I had a job at the police station. It was a reinterview, for a guy who’d already been interviewed once. The case was dealt with by a thoroughly decent police officer, who had secured evidence which completely sank the account my client had given in his first interview. Being a thoroughly decent police officer, and therefore having no desire to play silly games, he disclosed this evidence to me. It established my client’s guilt pretty comprehensively.
What then followed was about two hours of patient, then slightly less patient, persuasion on my part to get my client to stop being a silly, and make admissions so that he could receive the Caution for which he was eligible. Eventually, my stubbornness turned out to have deeper resources than his foolishness, and the correct outcome was achieved.
Like I mentioned earlier, this was a reinterview. My firm gets paid a fixed fee per case in the police station. We didn’t get a penny extra for my work. Also, by persuading the client to make admissions, I prevented the case from going to court, which means we lost out on a Lower Standard Fee for representing him in the court proceedings which would inevitably have followed had he maintained his denials. On a broader scale, the police were not required to prepare the file for a decision by the CPS. The CPS didn’t have to prep a file for court, and the court case as a whole didn’t happen. If you tot it all up, I saved the taxpayer about £1,500 last night. And apparently, I did it basically for free.
I’m not posting all this to try and act like some selfless martyr because, as most of you know, I’m really, really not one. The point I’m making is that it’s my job to represent a client and to try and achieve the best outcome for them. In this instance, that outcome was a Caution, so that’s what I tried to achieve.
When the Coalition has finished its ongoing campaign to ensure that there is no function of the state that isn’t undertaken by some zero-hour-contract wage slave working for a billionaire golfing partner of the Prime Minister, the whole concept of professional work will be extinguished. It will be done in the name of saving money, because apparently that’s a line people never stop falling for. But it won’t save money. The idea of representing a client in a way that is unprofitable for yourself is wholly alien to the corporatist culture that holds Westminster in thrall. In a year or two, when me and people like me are swept out of the criminal defence profession to make way for whatever G4S-run behemoth of incompetence and graft they cook up to replace us, no one is going to spend two hours persuading a vulnerable suspect that it really is better for him to take the caution. They’ll take their fee, do a crap job, and bugger off. Then they’ll take another fee for doing a crap job of representing him at court. And whatever shitheel in a £1,000 suit is Lord Chancellor by then, will tell you it’s saving you money.”