Will lawyers fall for the government’s ‘wholesale privatisation of justice’ PR trick?

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During the consultation over the scrapping of the trainee solicitor minimum salary last year, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) suggested to the media that trainees could be re-classified as apprentices – and earn just £2.60/hour as a result. Outrage ensued.

When the trainee minimum salary was dropped two months later, and replaced with the standard national minimum wage, a sense of relief about avoiding £2.60/hour hell tempered the anger. It was a classic PR trick.

Yesterday’s “leaked memo” revealing that the whole justice system is to be privatised, with hedge funds encouraged to invest in courts, had a similar feel to it…

“Courts in England and Wales are facing wholesale privatisation under revolutionary plans that would end the system that has existed since Magna Carta,” bellowed The Times (£).

The dastardly plan “involves tearing up the Magna Carta and flushing it down the bog,” screeched influential blogger Fleet Street Fox, as Twitter went wild.

Suddenly, anything short of complete Armageddon began not to feel so bad.

And as the Ministry of Justice proceeded to deny the full extent of the story, Grayling and co. appeared – for the first time in a while – almost reasonable.

Lawyers are too clever to fall for such a ruse, right?