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People's champ slams political mismanagement' of legal aid

PUBLISHED: 22:12 02 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:51 05 October 2010

THE senior partner in the best known criminal law firm in London's East End has spoken out against the Government's attempts to reorganise the Legal Aid system as "a disgraceful piece of political mismanagement." Anthony Edwards won an outstanding achievement' award at Monday night's Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year ceremony, but used the platform to have a dig at those "more concerned about cutting budgets than preserving justice" for serious Crown court cases

Mike Brooke

THE senior partner in the best known criminal law firm in London’s East End has spoken out against the Government’s attempts to reorganise the Legal Aid system as “a disgraceful piece of political mismanagement.”

People’s champion Anthony Edwards won an outstanding achievement’ award at Monday night’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year ceremony.

But the senior partner in TV Edwards in the Mile End Road used the platform to have a dig at those “more concerned about cutting budgets than preserving justice” for serious Crown court cases.

The Government, he said, was driving high quality firms away from legal aid.

He called for a review “at a level above mere competence” as disadvantaged clients deserved a higher standard.

Anthony was the unanimous choice of the panel of judges for the outstanding achievement’ award chaired by ex-PM Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Booth, who is herself a QC.

Presenter John Howard described Anthony to a tee.

“He is a defence lawyer to his boots,” said Howard.

“After 36 years at the coalface, he still does the nightshift on the duty rota twice-a-month.

“His enthusiasm for the job is infectious and his delight in getting a good result for a client remains absolute.

“He is an evangelist for the criminal defence’ profession—for all its flaws, which he would know better than most.”

TV Edwards was set up in 1929, specialising in publicly-funded work in criminal law and undertaking family law and civil law cases.

Anthony joined in 1972 and is now its senior partner. His managing partner, Jenny Beck, was voted Legal Aid Family Lawyer of the Year in 2006

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