The Ministry of Justice can find money to defend its ban on books for prisoners, but not for Legal Aid

The Ministry of Justice recently spent £72,000 defending the ban on books for prisoners.  They lost the case.  I am not sure if the £72k included any costs for the other side.

£72k is equivalent to 458 Legal Help new matter starts at the fixed fee of £157.  (New matters are almost like cases that our Advice Centres can take on).  By co-incidence, 458 new matter starts (NMS) are almost the number of NMS the Ministry of Justice reduced for East Sussex.

Under our contract we are always mindful that we are spending public money and will not take a case on without merit.  We have to demonstrate to the Legal Aid Agency that our cases have merit. We are careful and mindful of spending public money.  I wonder what due diligence was undertaken in the MoJ before they decided to defend their ridiculous, short-sighted ban on books for prisoners.

This has got me quite angry, especially as I heard this week that we have almost run out of NMS in Hastings because there is such demand on our service and we are awaiting a decision from the Legal Aid Agency as to whether they’ll grant us a few more.


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