Chris Grayling said the Government should not always be paying for the most senior QCs to defend suspected criminals when cheaper junior lawyers could do the job just as well.
Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, he said the £1 billion legal aid bill spent on criminal cases is too high when budgets are being cut across the Government.
“If you look at the daily rate for a senior QC it can be between £1300 and £2,000. For somebody who’s going to become a QC in a month’s time, it’s just over half that amount,” he said.
“The question is can we really afford so often to use people who are paid such an additional higher rate compared with somebody’s who’s nearly as experienced, who’s a seriously competent barrister, who will become a QC one day if they choose to do so.
You’re aiming to take the liberty of the person you’re prosecuting. Yes, you do need to pay for the lawyer to defend that person.
Whinging about how much it all costs: there are two things the nation state is meant to do. Defend the country and provide a court and justice system. Those are the two pre-requisites. Everything else it does is subordinate to these two. So if you’ve not got enough money to do these two then you’d better just stop doing some of the others to pay for these two.