At present, individuals acquitted of a criminal charge in a crown court are able to claim back reasonable outof-pocket legal expenses.
The Government has made proposals which are complex in places, but essentially it is considering removing this established right as a cost-cutting measure for those not on legal aid.
It inconsistently promises to uphold the right to an interpreter (costing £12million a year) so an accused person has a chance of understanding a charge and defending themselves, but not the right of an innocent layman to understand the law (estimated at nearer £8m).
Remember, prosecutions can cover relatively ordinary matters such as motoring, where the authorities have been found to be less than perfect.
One-in-five crown court cases gives an 'innocent' verdict, often on a judge's advice.
The Government has voted through an extra £1billion a year to subsidise our competitors in the EU. It would do better to put its own house in order rather than toying with a tax on innocent people, particularly those thrifty enough to build some savings.
Readers can respond to the official consultation until January 29. Visit www.newalliance.org.uk/innocent.htm or send a SAE for our free fact sheet.
Campaign manager, New Alliance, PO Box 13199, London SW6 6ZU.