For all that were not there, the message from all the speakers, and the firm opinion in the room, is that we will need to be ready to take firm concerted action to ensure sustainability of criminal defence work. The initial Government response to the Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review was an overall increase of 9% to solicitors fees, which falls far below what is necessary and what was recommended by Sir Christopher (now Lord) Bellamy in his report. The Government is now consulting and their response to that consultation is expected soon. If the core recommendations of the CLAIR are not properly implemented – a minimum 15% increase to solicitors fees – then people will feel that action of the nature that has recently been concluded by the CBA will be the only way to make the Government listen.
There is a meeting arranged for firm owners to discuss this arranged for 8 November in Birmingham at 2pm. It is for firm owners of all sizes from BFG to sole practitioners. There a registration link below. There is facility to sign up to attend remotely. The Committee will be there in person and we encourage everyone who is able to sign up and attend too, whether in person or remote.