Criminal defence firms’ national meeting – 19/03/2014 post image

There will be a meeting of all firms undertaking publicly-funded criminal defence work on the 19 March starting at 2pm in Manchester (The Palace Hotel). An equity partner (or someone with authority to make decisions on behalf of their firm) from each practice should attend so that the profession's next steps can be considered at national level.

4 comments… add one
  • Tim Evans 13/03/2014, 20:04

    Having spent an inspiring and reaffirming day with others from South Wales at the protest last Friday, I have not missed any chance since then to reinforce the message to those in our area who might move less slowly to anger, frustration and realisation of the only way forward. There is a growing feeling that thee can be no half measures.

    Personally, I came home from a stressful morning in court (Judges had a seminar prep afternoon!) to hear the widespread complaints on the radio about the fact that “cost of living rises” for public sector workers are insufficient. As a criminal barrister of just short of 30 years, I could not resist the immediate publication of the following post to my many friends, including a large number of desperate and determined solicitors and their staff:

    “Just heard on the news the “outrage” expressed about the fact that rank and file NHS workers will get “less than 1%” pay rise on top of their “incremental increase”, which apparently means the longer you work the more you get, and that Judges will get a 1% raise! I presently have steam coming out both ears! Barristers have no incremental increase. We have had NO NO NO increase in legal aid rates since 1997… Yes I said 1997… And have had three CUTS, including, for the most serious cases, the ones the f&£?£@#%ing judges try, the ones that keep a sensible person awake at night stressing about, the ones that require cross examination of small children, the ones that require dealing with dangerous psychotic people, the ones that require keeping many thousands of pages in your head while cross examining accountants, computer experts, pathologists…

    … Those serious cases the government reduced by 30%… Yes I said 30%… Last year, and now they want us to lie down and accept a further 6% cut to everything else!!!!

    Those who know me know that I tend in the main to keep my temper, think of all the possible arguments on the other side, react moderately and keep my language moderate. Well… Having just heard that the MOJ have agreed to pay judges MORE, out of massive cuts from the hard working people who appear in front of them, well they can fuck right off! I am now adamantly behind any barrister or solicitor who from the time the next cuts come in says “do you know what, I will not work at those rates” and bring the whole system to a standstill. The reality is now clear. The morons in government in this country are not doing this because of money or austerity measures. What perchance is 0.5% on top of every NHS worker’s wages? No, they are doing this to the legal system because they don’t like pesky independent lawyers who care about their clients, and take proper legal points, and stand up to judges, and challenge sentences. They have made it clear that they want to give that job to G4S, who have just had to repay the government £100 million pounds because of their charging for people who they did not electronically tag! It is NO surprise that one part of the proposed new fees regime has in it a financial incentive for the “lawyer”, or call centre operative if G4S do this work, to persuade the client to plead guilty.

    Big Brother? 1984? You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

    I applaud the way that you organised last Friday. Keep it up. Bring it on. It would be wrong to say that the Bar is behind you. No… the Bar are alongside you in this.

  • kev allsop 18/03/2014, 06:50

    Regardless of which sector you work in, below inflation rises are unacceptable and we should avoid the temptation of distracting ourselves by criticising each other.

    I work in the probation service which is a target for GraylinG4s too.

    Our focus must remain on the stupidity of GraylinG4s plans and we should not distract from that, instead we need the public to hear a clear message

  • Profile photo of Lynton Orrett

    Lynton Orrett 18/03/2014, 07:38

    Why don’t we, for one day, refuse to act as police station and court duty solicitors. If we want to really draw attention to our plight we have to take action which impacts upon other agencies.

  • C 18/03/2014, 22:58

    Ignorant comments like yours are helping the government to divide and rule, instead of making comments about public services workers we should be presenting a united front.

    I actually support the action of solicitors and barristers and believe that the legal aid changes will see the end of democracy and justice, I am a public service worker and I know many of my colleagues support your cause, however your comments only serve to alienate members of the public from you.
    I believe the public are warming to your cause and support you, however your comments only serve to reinforce the poor perception of the legal profession- that you are out of touch with reality and arrogant.
    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you! we need to present a united front , support other workers, don’t alienate them or begrudge them a tiny pay rise.


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