Maura McGowan, former Chair of the Bar Council, makes a valid point when she told www.thejusticegap.com that “the courts will become clogged up with litigants in person”. This will not only apply where people are denied legal aid in the first place, but also, I believe, in the criminal field as well.If a defendant isn’t satisfied with his representation (due to not having the counsel of his choice or someone he rates too junior), he may well sack his barrister and go it alone. A canny defendant will know that a judge (taking the place of defence advocate in particular with regard to legal issues)  will have to bend over backwards to ensure he receives a fair trial. This places an intolerable burden on a judge who is normally expected to act as an umpire during proceedings.Moreover, the trial is bound to take much longer to complete thus costing the public purse a great deal more in the long run.

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