Article in Mail states PM's brother unhappy about legal aid cuts
" Sunday, Jun 05 2011 Dave's bother with big brother...By Black Dog
Last updated at 10:09 PM on 4th June 2011
Family tension: David Cameron's legal aid spending cuts have caused a clash with barrister brother Alex David Cameron's spending cuts have led to family tension, with barrister brother Alex bending his ear over the £350 million being slashed from legal aid.
‘He’s not happy,’ says the PM. Big brother Alex has serious clout.
When Dave hesitated about entering the Tory leadership race , it was Alex who said: ‘Go for it.’"
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 5, 2011 8:00:46 GMT
Well spotted Jman! Is this the same Alex Cameron QC who picked up the case after high fee earning barrister Alun Jones ditched it once he knew his client had run out of funds, meaning he'd have to manage on £600 a day legal aid fees. This was back in 2004, when Cameron was Jones' junior, I wonder how much he's gone on to earn out of legal aid since then?
Indeed, assuming this is the very same Alex Cameron, I wonder how influential he's been over protecting high cost civil/criminal work? You can just imagine what they've been saying over their glasses of fine port.
Here's how it was reported back in 2004....
"When £600 a day is not enough for one of Britain's top QCs"
"A leading barrister stopped representing his client in the middle of a fraud trial after his daily rate was reduced to £600 when the man ran out of funds and had to take legal aid.
Alun Jones, a Queen's Counsel who had already earned more than £250,000 from the case, pulled out when his client was forced to claim legal aid. That meant that instead of the £3,000 a day that Mr Jones had previously been paid, his fee was cut to a fifth of that amount.
The Bar Council described the case as "highly unusual", but stressed that Mr Jones was not in breach of the rules of his profession. A barrister or QC was entitled to stop representing a client who switched from a private fee to being funded by the Legal Aid Board. Other lawyers claimed that Mr Jones was guilty of "very poor form" and criticized his decision to abandon the case.
The controversy emerged at the end of the trial of Carl Cushnie, a businessman convicted at Southwark Crown Court, in London, last week for his part in one of Britain's biggest accountancy frauds.
Mr Jones, 55, was hired by Cushnie 18 months before the trial and is likely to have negotiated a non-returnable signing-on fee - known in legal circles as a "brief" - estimated at £200,000, which included preparatory work. He then represented Cushnie for almost four weeks of the 19-week hearing.
Cushnie, who before the trial was hailed as one of Britain's most successful black businessmen, was convicted last Tuesday of conspiring to defraud "traders" who lent tens of millions of pounds to Versailles, his trade finance group, and will be sentenced on June 8. He was, however, cleared of a second, broader, conspiracy charge.
Cushnie is understood to have been "disappointed" that someone with Mr Jones's experience and persuasive qualities was no longer representing him, but was satisfied with the way Alexander Cameron, QC, who had been Mr Jones's junior, handled the remainder of the trial.
Jo Rickards, a solicitor at Peters & Peters, the law firm that represented Cushnie, said: "Neither Mr Cushnie nor I wish to comment on the decision by Mr Jones." Mr Jones also refused to comment on the grounds of client confidentiality.
Some criminal barristers believe that Mr Jones, who has a reputation as being brilliant but eccentric, behaved badly. "Most criminal QCs would consider this to be very poor form indeed," said one senior barrister.
"There have been numerous cases in which privately-paying clients ran out of funds and the QC continued to represent them from public funds. Those who have done that include Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions"
I wonder how much Dave's brother earned out of this and many other cases I dare say. Not to mention that the defendant ended up being convicted, I wonder if they'd correctly carried out the sufficient benefit test eh!
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 5, 2011 8:20:17 GMT
I wonder if this little expose over Dave's brother, makes it about time high cost 'fat cats' were exposed? It was all topical back in the good old days when money was no object, back in 2007 they were warning over the dangers of paying fat cats so much, at the expense of squeezing law centres dry...
"£1.1m earnings in a year for top legal aid barrister - June 2007"
"A little-know lawyer emerged today as the highest-paid legal aid barrister in the country, receiving more than £1.1 million in a year.
Balbir Singh, who has never been made a QC, was paid £1,116,000 in 2005 to 2006, according to figures released today by the Ministry of Justice.
The former magistrates' clerk is the only non-QC in the top 10 of the highest-paid barristers from criminal legal aid work only and has beaten more prestigious rivals in the pay league.
Between them the top 10 received almost £8.6 million in public money. In last year's list, Mr Singh came in fifth with earnings of £750,000 - meaning that in two years he has pocketed almost £1.9 million of taxpayers' money, mainly to defend criminal cases.
He is likely to have a further income from his private practice legal work.
Today the barristers' earnings were condemned as an "absolute disgrace" by an MP who has campaigned against the huge fees paid to individual lawyers from taxpayers' money.
Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, said: "This is an absolute disgrace. Law centres and advice services are being squeezed at the bottom end to pay for multi-million-pound, bewigged fat cats at the other."
Post by Patrick Torsney on Jun 5, 2011 9:13:44 GMT
I can't be the only one who thinks this rubbish is designed to ensure that the public attention regarding legal aid is focussed on 'fat cats', as opposed to where the cuts are really happening? We would do well not to get swept up in this kind of trash or allow it to muddy the waters of the real debate
Personally, I think a piece like this suits Cameron down to the ground - can't you see the angles?!?!?!
By the way, I am thinking of removing any post that links to the Daily Mail in future. I don't like the idea that ilegal users are helping push up the DM's view stats and revenue streams by following links from here. I'll think about it, I may just be having a dictator moment
In the meantime, I'd seriously recommend you read this about how the DM flame-baits you - and so many otherwise perfectly sensible people keep falling for it (The Sun uses the same method):
Also, if you are going to look at what the DM has to say, then don't go direct but go via istyosty - they cache the DM's pages so that you can browse them without it counting towards the DM's page views and ad-revenue schemes:
On the other hand Patrick know your enemy. We can't just pretend this isn't happening we need to know what they are up to/saying if we are going to counter it. They are going to say these things anyway. As Nick has pointed out the point is there to be made that those who make the most are getting off scot free while Law Centres and Cab are getting hammered. At the moment there is a dearth of publicity with only the Guardian really covering matters. We need a proper media strategy getting clients in the media more than lawyers/advisers that will get the message across far more strongly.
Post by Patrick Torsney on Jun 5, 2011 11:18:57 GMT
Do you really think you will learn anything you don't already know by reading the DM? Is not reading it, pretending it doesn't exist? I don't think so
As I said in my last post, getting dragged into 'countering' rubbish in the DM is exactly what we should not be doing - we should be choosing the ground. We know what the problems are, we know the kind of insulting rubbish idiots like the DM and Sun will come up with; there's nothing new here - they've been loading it on the legal profession forever
Yes I agree, 'we' most certainly do need a media strategy, and let's hope J4A and SOFJ are onto it