Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Action Against Legal Aid Cuts: Client Notice

The criminal defence profession is under the largest threat that it has faced, in its history. The Ministry of justice, has already imposed an 8.5% cut to the criminal legal aid budget for solicitors, and proposes a second tranche of cuts after the next general election. The effect will be devastating to  defence practices, which in turn is likely to close around two thirds of the firms in the UK. As a result, we as a profession have had to make our voices heard. You may have seen on the news both barristers and solicitors, staging large scale “walk-outs” from Courts across the country. This is the very tip of the actions the profession are taking, in order to preserve justice for all.

Faced with the first round of cuts, we have been tasked with making very difficult decisions in order to make our voices heard in the echoing corridors of the Ministry. We have decided to join many other firms across the country, in not applying for legal aid in the Crown Court, as of 7th April 2014. To us this feels extremely counter-intuitive. We as a firm, have been protecting the rights of individuals for over 25 years. We believe in quality representation for all our clients, no matter what their bank balance reads. So, we must regain the attention of Chris Grayling (the justice secretary) and entice him back to the negotiating table in relation to these supposed “reforms”.

This is a drastic step on the part of each and every firm, and  will be kept under review by each participating practice for the duration of the intended  6 week period of action.
We will do all that we can to support you, as a  valued client, in this challenging time so that we can be back standing beside you in the Crown Court, protecting your rights as soon as we possibly can.  Please bear with us, and  understand that we are fighting for your futures as well as our own.

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