Bill Waddington, chairman of the CLSA (pictured above) announces:
“The next legal aid protest by individual lawyers (triggered by Government threats to access to Justice) will take place across a whole day, and the date chosen is March 7.
All specialist criminal law Solicitors will be invited to attend individually a "national training day". Training facilities will be provided by the Law Society.
We have been told that an announcement by the government on its legal aid cuts was "imminent" at a meeting with justice secretary Chris Grayling yesterday. We were told nothing more specific than the plans will include two-tier contracts for duty solicitor work. There will be cuts to fees but we know nothing about the amount, the timing and whether they will take place in one or two tranches.
We were told that all will be revealed in this imminently published response.
Following that, a meeting of the CLSA, LCCSA and CBA agreed to hold a one-day protest on 7 March.”
Nigel Lithman QC, chairman of the CBA, said barristers "will no longer be available/will not work during the day of March 7".
Bill Waddington continues “We are deeply sorry that lawyers individually attending training on the 7th March will cause great inconvenience but as solicitors, supported by our friends at the Bar we cannot stand by and idly watch the Government dismantle the legal aid system in the criminal courts. The present proposals are unnecessary in view of the huge reduction in expenditure on crime caused by a collapse in volume of cases charged and we are dismayed by the stubborn refusal to listen to viable alternatives and proposals put forward by the profession.
The survival of an independent profession is vital for ordinary members of the public who are not wealthy and facing a well-funded state prosecution. Justice should not be the preserve of the well-off but a right for everyone who faces an accusation in an often frightening and confusing criminal Justice system. These proposals threaten access to Justice provided by firms of all sizes in the local community and we will fight them before these essential liberties are taken away under the guise of cost cutting.”
Bill Waddington, Chairman of the CLSA
Click here to download a copy of the press release
Notes to Editors:
The CLSA is an independent organisation representing lawyers in England and Wales. Its members specialise, often exclusively, in criminal defence litigation. Its members are defenders in the large majority, but it has prosecutors and court clerks in its membership.
Bill Waddington Chairman e mail (WOW@williamsons-solicitors.co.uk)
Robin Murray Vice Chair e mail firstname.lastname@example.org