15 trials and 42 court hearings adjourned as barristers boycott crown courts in protest at plans to slash legal aid bill
More than 400 barristers boycotted crown courts in northern England today in what was described as the first militant action against Government plans to slash the criminal legal aid bill by millions.
Fifteen trials and 42 other hearings had to be adjourned, according to HM Courts & Tribunals Service, though a spokesman said these did not involve any cases concerning vulnerable victims or witnesses. Most were relisted within four weeks.
A spokesman for the Northern Circuit, which stretches from Carlisle through Manchester and Liverpool to Chester, said an "overwhelming majority" of its members had chosen to attend an all-day protest meeting to discuss and form a response to proposals to slash the criminal legal aid bill by £220 million.
Around 100 solicitors also joined the early part of the meeting yesterday in a show of solidarity.
Among a number of reforms put out to consultation by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, are plans to stop automatic legal aid for criminal defendants with a household income of £37,500. Proposals will also pave the way for lawyers to compete for contracts, which critics say will reduce the options available to defendants in choosing their own lawyer.
Last week, The Law Gazette reported that the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West Nazir Afzal had warned that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) regarded decisions not to honour professional commitments as a "very serious step".
The Ministry of Justice said it would be "disappointing" if lawyers chose to disrupt court schedules and added it "would not help them and simply inconveniences the court, the public and their clients".
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband kit: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 5 PFA Player of the Year: Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard all nominated as Liverpool dominate award shortlist
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...