Thompsons Solicitors, which provides specialist criminal law services to trade unions and their members, welcomes the Constitutional Affairs Committee’s verdict on the proposed reforms to the Legal Aid system.

Joanna Stevens, partner, who gave evidence earlier this year to the ConAffCom’s inquiry into Lord Carter’s report and the reform proposals, said: "The government has allowed itself to walk into an entirely avoidable humiliation. Access to justice has been a cornerstone of this government’s legal services policy and with these reforms it is doing the exact opposite.

"The government's offer is of limited access and it will sound the death knell for those law firms offering specialist services, such as Thompsons offers to trade unions.

"There is no reason why a national system of contracting with specialist providers cannot co-exist with a local contracting system."