‘Shy bairns get nowt’: criminal defence solicitors urged to keep the faith over legal aid fees

The Law Society Gazette by Monidipa Fouzder 8 November 2023

Criminal defence solicitors have been told to hold the fort for a while longer after senior legal figures were told they are losing faith that the sector will be saved.

Solicitors told a panel discussion at the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association conference that the sector is shrinking every year.

‘There is no belief anymore. Promises are never upheld. We’re having to take the government to court,’ one attendee told the panel, which comprised Her Honour Judge Deborah Taylor, chair of the Criminal Legal Aid Advisory Board, Law Society vice president Richard Atkinson, CLSA president Daniel Bonich, London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association president Fadi Daoud, and solicitor Zachary Whyte, a member of trade union Unite.

‘The biggest problem we are going to have is trying to get people engaged. The principal problem is trying to develop a strategy that will engage the profession again. People have effectively given up,’ the solicitor said.

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