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Ipswich/UK: Barristers set to take strike action

09:23 06 January 2014

Steven Dyble

Steven Dyble

Archant

Cases at crown courts across England and Wales – including Ipswich – are expected to be disrupted today during the first ever strike of barristers.

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They are expected to refuse to take part in morning sessions at Crown Courts in a protest at government plans to cut legal aid funding.

Barrister Stephen Dyble who appears regularly in Ipswich said: “In the past two years the Government has driven through pay cuts of 40%. In February 2014 a further 10% cut is due to be implemented.”

Nigel Lithman, QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “A line has to be drawn in the sand before it’s too late. The cuts pose the most serious threat to the British legal system in more than 400 years.”

He added: “The government says it is tough on crime, but is stripping the criminal justice system of anyone able to adequately prosecute serious criminals or defend those falsely accused.

“We merely seek a pay freeze. What could be more reasonable than that? I have offered to engage with the Lord Chancellor as to how to make savings across the system.”

The strike comes as the government tries to cut down on its Legal Aid bills – these bills can be very high, especially for those accused of the most serious crimes.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that the Legal Aid bill for Ipswich serial killer Steve Wright was more than £444,000 during his trial at the start of 2008.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “At around £2 billion a year, we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world. Just like many hard-pressed families and businesses – we have no choice but to make savings. “Any disruption to court business is unnecessary, and lawyers choosing to do so inconvenience their clients and hard-working taxpayers.”

Barristers taking part in the walkout will be available to appear in court from 2pm.

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2 comments

  • I agree that legal aid should be cut, especially when individuals like Steve Wright have cost us so much! If the evidence in a case is so overwhelming and a guilty plea has been entered or the individual is guilty beyond reasonable doubt; why should they have such costly legal representation? it is merely money down the drain and it prolongs the justice decision making process unnecessarily. Take the killers of Lee Rigby, they were filmed committing the act and were without question guilty! however they would have had barristers etc at huge cost to the state. I think the reevaluation merely needs to be done on a case by case basis, to protect the innocent and more effectively punish the guilty.

    Report this comment

    Johnie Redwood

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • at over £200 an hour the charge for a junior solicitor is not bad money a rip off i would say

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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