Ever been stumped when someone asked you a difficult question about the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2010-2011? Well worry no more. With the Bill at committee stage following two readings in the House of Commons, this handy guide explains where we're at.
As reported in Solicitors Journal earlier this month the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2010-2011 has been passing the third stage in its course through Parliament.
As the Bill moved toward this point, Lord Justice Jackson interjected on one key point which has sparked controversy ever since Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke announced it. The removal of legal aid for clinical negligence cases - indeed all of the cutbacks to the fund - was described by the Lord Justice as "contrary to the recommendations in my report."
Of course, not everyone is provided with a platform at the Cambridge Law Faculty to influence proceedings but there are opportunities for you to track progress and get involved in scrutinising the legislation.
There are a variety of ways to follow the Bill; firstly Parliament's map details at which stage in its life the Bill is currently at and the dates on which readings or debates are next scheduled. Then, if you are interested in contributing evidence to committee, like these examples from the Forum of Insurance Lawyers and London solicitors Leigh Day & Co, this guidance explains how to do that.
The parliamentary process has become truly transparent and accessible since everything moved online so the best way to get involved is by signing up for email alerts and get your voice heard.