Calls for increased payment of criminal lawyers welcomed

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has welcomed a paper’s proposals for increased payment to criminal lawyers in the early stages of cases, it has been reported.

The Scottish government states that Mr MacAskill welcomed the proposition for payment increases with the overall aim of saving money through the early resolution of cases, thus avoiding excessive and unnecessary work.

Mr MacAskill stated that Scotland’s criminal justice system is going through its largest reforms "in at least a generation" and the reforms will mean that fewer cases needlessly go to court and those that do are dealt with more efficiently.

"As part of that work, this government wants solicitors to be appropriately and fairly paid and wants public funds to be used to support an efficient and fair summary justice system," he added.

Mr MacAskill concluded that the proposals – made together with the Scottish Legal Aid Board (Slab) – were aimed to avoid wasted effort and expense as well as reducing pressure on victims and witnesses of crimes.

Proposals in the paper bolster the summary justice reforms set out in the Criminal Proceedings etc (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007, reports the authority.

Slab is responsible for the management of legal aid – which allows people who could not otherwise be able to gain assistance – in Scotland.