The association has invited all owners of firms who undertake criminal litigation (whether publicly funded or not) and heads of chambers undertaking criminal work to endorse the following public declaration (which can be reached at www.criminallawyersunited.com):
We are criminal defence lawyers. We have an ethical duty to represent each of our clients in a robust, diligent and professional manner. No lawyer canfulfil this duty at the criminal legal aid rates currently proposed by the Ministry of Justice. The Law Society, the professional body for solicitors, also recognised this fact on 1 October 2013 and is unequivocally opposed to these cuts.
It follows that to attempt to operate subject to the fee cuts ascurrently proposed will inevitably lead to inadequate representation of many clients. As professionals, our position is that we cannot and must not accede to this. We have demonstrated to the MoJ and will continue to do so that such cuts are unworkable and will lead to a collapse of our justice system. We are willing to continue to engage with the government to find savings and greater efficiencies.