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  • The Senate today (November 26) approved the Legal Aid Amendment Regulations 2021.
  • Acting Leader of Opposition Business, Donna Scott Mottley, said the entire legal-aid framework needs to be adjusted.
  • “It is because of that review and a particular case why these figures have been improved. I believe that, in short order, we will be back putting forward somewhat better figures,” he added.

The Senate today (November 26) approved the Legal Aid Amendment Regulations 2021.

The regulations set out new legal aid fees to be paid to attorneys in criminal trials, among other things.

Piloting the motion, Government Senator, Ransford Braham, said it is designed to increase the fees that are paid to attorneys who have agreed to do legal-aid assignments in relation to criminal trials.

Supporting the regulations, Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown, said “we would have loved to see us take it to a point in some civil cases, not just criminal cases”.

Acting Leader of Opposition Business, Donna Scott Mottley, said the entire legal-aid framework needs to be adjusted.

“It needs to be looked at, so that when persons are assigned to cases, it is not just something on the side, that they can devote the best quality of their experience to whatever case is at hand. If at all possible, we must revisit this legislation and see how we can do a complete overhaul,” she said.

She noted that legal aid is greatly underfunded, pointing out that many attorneys who do it, do so as an act of duty and as a contribution to their country.

In his response, Senator Braham said the Ministry and the Minister of Justice have undertaken to keep the figures under constant review.

“It is because of that review and a particular case why these figures have been improved. I believe that, in short order, we will be back putting forward somewhat better figures,” he added.

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