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No breakthrough in legal aid row

SOLICITORS remained at loggerheads with the Scottish Government over proposed changes to the criminal legal aid system after meeting Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Members of Law Society of Scotland made representations to Mr MacAskill yesterday as strike action by lawyers over proposed changes to the criminal legal aid system spread across the country. They are concerned over proposals to make accused people with a disposable income of £68 a week or more contribute to defence costs in summary cases.

Mr MacAskill has offered to increase the threshold to £82, but the Law Society remains critical. Yesterday the society said there is a "fundamental disagreement" with the Government, and that Mr MacAskill was not prepared to consider changes to allay their concerns.

Law Society president Austin Lafferty said: "Even with an increase in the threshold, there are still many parts of the legislation that need resolved.

"The proposals still incentivise the innocent accused to plead guilty and leave solicitors as unpaid debt collectors for the Government."

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Local government

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