End of barristers’ strike does not mean end of criminal justice crisis
“A crisis in the criminal justice system triggered the barristers’ strike action and although that dispute seems narrowly to have been resolved - the crisis has not gone away,” said Law Society of England and Wales president Joe Egan.
“Twenty years of cuts have heaped colossal pressure on the system, and those who work hard every day to ensure the rule of law is upheld.
“The Law Society has produced clear evidence of the imminent collapse of the criminal legal aid solicitors’ market. Despite that, the Ministry of Justice is simply not addressing the root problems.
“All through the barristers’ strike solicitors have kept working - this commitment to the rule of the law has again gone unrewarded.
“The Law Society has already applied for a judicial review of the litigators' graduated fee scheme (LGFS) cuts which, if successful, will only be a band-aid on the gaping wound of the underfunded criminal justice system.
“We need a change of approach by the government. If that doesn’t happen they alone will be to blame for the collapse in confidence in our justice system that will surely follow.”
Note to editors
The financial pressures on solicitors undertaking criminal legal aid work are such that in June 2017 we issued a practice note to legal aid solicitors specialising in criminal law reminding them that they can exercise their discretion when deciding to accept cases if the work threatens the viability of their firm.
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