Legal aid deserts' warning

PUBLISHED: 12:34 02 February 2007 | UPDATED: 19:56 01 June 2010

LEGAL aid deserts in rural areas were predicted by MP Henry Bellingham during a Commons debate. MPs were discussing Government plans to change legal aid rules by applying fixed fees rather than paying by the hour, and Mr Bellingham, MP for North-West Norf

LEGAL aid deserts in rural areas were predicted by MP Henry Bellingham during a Commons debate.

MPs were discussing Government plans to change legal aid rules by applying fixed fees rather than paying by the hour, and Mr Bellingham, MP for North-West Norfolk, warned this would cause many law firms to close or amalgamate

"Many of the firms in my constituency are not in criminal aid to make money, because they believe in the ethos of trying to protect those in society who have real problems and crises," he said.

There will certainly be legal aid deserts, especially in rural areas," said Mr Bellingham, himself a barrister.

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