East Lancashire courts affected by strike action

SOLICITORS and barristers went on strike yesterday in a row over changes to legal aid.

There was disruption at Burnley Magistrates and Burnley and Preston crown courts while lawyers protested against the proposed cuts.

No industrial action was taken at Blackburn Magistrates Court, with no lawyers taking to the picket line, and cases were heard as usual.

Nick Dearing, from Donald Race and Newton, in Burnley, said: “This is not about fat cat lawyers.

“We do not expect to be rich, but we will not be able to continue to provide a decent service.

“The government is about to introduce a 17.5 per cent cut for doing legally aided work and that is on top of the effective reduction of fees.

“We are aware there is pressure on the public purse, but the reduction is so large that it will threaten the viability of firms.

“Particularly in deprived areas like parts of East Lancashire, people are vulnerable and we are concerned we will not be able to provide them with the necessary protection.”

Justice secretary Chris Grayling is pressing ahead with fee cuts for barristers and solicitors as part of a bid to slash £220 million from the legal aid budget by 2018/19.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the final reforms reflected many of the changes lawyers have asked for and also highlighted measures announced last week to support lawyers through the period of transition.

Protesters marched on the government department to deliver a signed Magna Carta scroll defending the right of every citizen to justice.

Barristers refused to attend court for the first time in January, causing widespread disruption to criminal justice.

Comments (3)

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1:01pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Rumpole says...

How much more money do they need?

With fees from £150 per hour and upwards it is quite obvious that they believe only people with money to buy decent representation deserve to get one. If you can't pay and the legal aid won't pay for you then you are truly on your own.

Try dropping your prices a bit and take on more clients if you want more money, if you haven't got enough staff then employ some more to help with the work load and help student solicitors get some knowledge and experience with the preparation of cases for the qualified solicitors.

If everyone is supposed to be equal in law then everyone should be equal in getting equal access to the law!

If someone is only able to pay for the cheapest legal representation they can afford then the opposition costs must be the same, no more paying an opposition solicitor 10 times more then the other.

If the case has merit and is within the law then the law will decide the outcome not a solicitor that costs more so has acquired the skills of manipulating the law to suit his clients needs, the facts should decide the case.

Until Justice becomes a priority over money then things will only get worse!
How much more money do they need? With fees from £150 per hour and upwards it is quite obvious that they believe only people with money to buy decent representation deserve to get one. If you can't pay and the legal aid won't pay for you then you are truly on your own. Try dropping your prices a bit and take on more clients if you want more money, if you haven't got enough staff then employ some more to help with the work load and help student solicitors get some knowledge and experience with the preparation of cases for the qualified solicitors. If everyone is supposed to be equal in law then everyone should be equal in getting equal access to the law! If someone is only able to pay for the cheapest legal representation they can afford then the opposition costs must be the same, no more paying an opposition solicitor 10 times more then the other. If the case has merit and is within the law then the law will decide the outcome not a solicitor that costs more so has acquired the skills of manipulating the law to suit his clients needs, the facts should decide the case. Until Justice becomes a priority over money then things will only get worse! Rumpole
  • Score: -1

2:20pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Excluded again says...

In a market economy, the best people will tend to move to the better paid jobs. You might get a few who will stick on lower pay than they can earn elsewhere on a point of principle - but, hand on heart, would you?

So if legal aid is poorly paid, then (as with any group of people) lawyers will move on to better paid work. What will be left will be a few really committed, a few who can't move on (because no-one else will employ them) and the inexperienced trying to get a foot on the ladder to move on as quickly as they can.

Now imagine you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and are falsely accused of something that could land you in jail for a few years. Do you want a cheap lawyer, or a good lawyer?
In a market economy, the best people will tend to move to the better paid jobs. You might get a few who will stick on lower pay than they can earn elsewhere on a point of principle - but, hand on heart, would you? So if legal aid is poorly paid, then (as with any group of people) lawyers will move on to better paid work. What will be left will be a few really committed, a few who can't move on (because no-one else will employ them) and the inexperienced trying to get a foot on the ladder to move on as quickly as they can. Now imagine you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and are falsely accused of something that could land you in jail for a few years. Do you want a cheap lawyer, or a good lawyer? Excluded again
  • Score: 4

3:22pm Sat 8 Mar 14

maxcollie says...

No disruption at Accrington Courts as they do not open on Fridays
No disruption at Accrington Courts as they do not open on Fridays maxcollie
  • Score: 1

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