Thursday, 14 June 2012

Why is legal aid being abolished... it's been abused...

Paragraph 7 from  NJDB (Appellant) v JEG and another (Respondents) (Scotland) [2012] UKSC 21.

In January 2008 the proceedings were transferred to Stirling Sheriff Court. Eventually, following further amendment of the pleadings, on 5 June 2008 the sheriff allowed parties a proof of their averments. By that stage, more than three years had passed since the proceedings had begun. An eight day diet of proof was fixed to begin on 10 September 2008. In the event, the proof ran to 52 days of evidence and took more than a year to complete. The appellant gave evidence for seven days. The evidence of the first respondent lasted for eighteen days. Evidence was also given by a number of other witnesses, including several expert (or supposedly expert) witnesses. The proof was eventually concluded on 23 November 2009. The sheriff issued his decision on 22 January 2010, more than five years after the proceedings had begun. His judgment ran to 173 pages, which 35 comprised his findings of fact (163 in number) and the remainder comprised his note.

Would this have happened in a privately funded case? Bet your bottom dollar no... and even the appeal court commented on this point. What responsibility do the Sherriff, solicitors and barristers have for such an appalling waste of tax payers' money.