British MPs are facing a revolt by lawyers over plans to introduce a “reverse auction” system for legal aid.
Nearly 2,500 lawyers say the scheme will cause “irreparable damage” to the quality of the justice system and have already signed a Downing Street online petition urging the plans be scrapped.
Reverse auction systems where projects are awarded based on the lowest bid, were originally devised for activities such as refuse collection and school catering.
Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society for England and Wales, warned: “What is being proposed is potentially very dangerous, dangerous from the point of view of clients, our criminal justice system and dangerous to the taxpayer.”
The proposal comes after The Times disclosed that an online auction system was being used to buy end-of-life and dementia care for the elderly. A series of 30 “reverse e-auctions” where bids were driven down instead of up, for £165 million(AUD$340million) worth of contracts was held by the government authority ealrier this year, but it is understood they have damaged the quality of care.