This is another claim for judicial review of a decision by the Lord Chancellor to reduce the amount of money made available as legal aid for defending people accused of crimes. The decision challenged in these proceedings has reduced fees payable under a scheme called the Litigators' Graduated Fees Scheme under which most of the work done by "litigators" (typically solicitors) in preparing the defence of persons prosecuted in the Crown Court is paid.
It is difficult to express in language of appropriate moderation why we consider these arguments without merit. The first point, which should not need to be made but evidently does, is that consultees are entitled to expect that a government ministry undertaking a consultation exercise will conduct it in a way which is open and transparent. In particular, they are entitled to expect that if, on the crucial question raised in the consultation paper, officials have carried out an analysis which forms the basis of the proposal, then that fact will be mentioned in the consultation documents and not left to be inferred.