UK Tory MP who helped kill Legal Aid is wiped out by defending himself against sexual assault claim

Alan sez, "At least he's got the sense to own up and say he's sorry. Nigel Evans used to be in Parliament. While there he helped cut legal aid. As a result, people who are charged by the government but found innocent can't recover costs. Mr Evans is now looking at a (UKP) 130,000 legal bill (plus VAT) after defending successfully against an allegation of sexual assault. Of course, were he in the US he'd be in the same or worse shape."

He's been wiped out, and has pledged to try to undo the damage he's done to Legal Aid if he gets reelected. Meanwhile, the real victims of this are poor crime victims, especially women in abusive relationships, who are grappling with a system where only rich people get lawyers.

He said he was stunned to learn he would have to pay his legal fees even if he was acquitted - plus value added tax. Mr Evans, whose life savings have been wiped out, has pledged to campaign on the issue after his return to the Commons.

Tough new rules on the amount of cash acquitted defendants could claim back were passed in 2011 as the Ministry of Justice sought to trim the legal aid budget.

Bill Waddington, the chairman of the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association, said: "It is interesting it takes something like this for MPs to realise that only two years ago they actually voted for this change against vociferous opposition from the legal community.

£130,000 poorer in fees, Nigel Evans admits regret for past support of legal aid cuts (Thanks, Alan!)

Notable Replies

  1. Just what I was going to say...

    He was deputy Speaker, and quit that role.

  2. dobby says:

    In a legal system where a lawyer becomes an absolute requirement there needs to be a way to balance the opposing sides other than the fatness of their bank account. In criminal cases very few people can outspend the Crown or the US though it happens and they end up winning in a reasonable percentage of cases if those even go to trial, the same is true when for example facing the RIAA/MPAA in civil court. The time and finance limited pubic defender, only available in criminal cases, is mostly there to help arrange a (guilty)plea bargain contributing to the conviction rate in the US surpassing that in Nazi Germany!
    If we need universal health care since everyone gets sick eventually, so also we have structured the law and our allegedly free western society in a way that we also need to have well funded single payer legal protection or some other equality scheme. The massive wealth imbalance makes barratry a realistic option for both profit and revenge both by private parties and by prosecutors looking to further their careers. and

    We end up with a legal ecosystem where most of us are herbivores with a few predators including the state who rarely attack each other but mostly feed on the 99% prey animals.

  3. has pledged to try to undo the damage he's done to Legal Aid if he gets reelected

    "Re-elect me and I will try to undo the damage I helped inflict last time you elected me!" The incentives, they are perverse.

  4. Exactly what smut_clyde said.

    Normally we judge people on their previous actions when they were in power before re-electing them. This guy admits what he supported was wrong but was happy to go along with it when it only affected other people, and when it turns round and bites him he wants to use it as a reason to get elected again. He is the very model of a self interested politician by his own admission, in short a typical Tory.

  5. This story needs some corrections.

    He is still an MP
    He did not "help kill legal aid" because as deputy speaker he could not vote, nor argue for or against any bills. His job was to be impartial.

    He did have the good grace to say that were he not deputy speaker, he probably would have supported the cuts [since he is a tory MP and generally wouldn't vote against the whip].

    He may or may not be a complete arsehole, but he's not responsible for what the headline claims.

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