The Manx government could directly employ a team of lawyers who would represent defendants in criminal cases.

A review of criminal legal aid on the Isle of Man suggests the introduction of a Public Defender Scheme (PDS).

Currently, lawyers from private practices carry out defence work and are paid by the Manx government.

The Isle of Man Law Society raised concerns when the proposal was first suggested in 2018 as part of a Manx Treasury project to save money.

The current review also asks for views on the possible introduction of fixed fees for carrying out legal aid work.

Lawyers presently receive an hourly rate.

Tiered rates, which see junior lawyers paid £115 per hour and senior lawyers paid £135, were last reviewed in 2009.

The document says introducing fixed fees could “help governments manage their budgets more effectively”.

Views are also being sought on the fees paid to interpreters, the eligibility criteria for legal aid, and self-representation in court.

Attorney General John Quinn said the consultation was “an essential step towards helping understand people’s views on the current provision of criminal legal aid”.

Responses would “help formulate options for its future provision” on the island, he added.

The consultation can be accessed online and runs until 21 November.

A separate survey on civil legal aid will be launched later this year.

Source: bbc.co.uk