‘We are standing by the probation service as they too face a dangerous overhaul and risky, non-evidence based privatised rehabilitation agenda. Throughout the criminal justice system we are seeing justice eroded .
The Ministry of Justice and the courts have benefitted from the goodwill of defence solicitors for many years. Legal aid lawyers have been oiling the wheels of a creaking justice system for too long. We’re no longer prepared or able to do this. That’s why we’ll be working to rule, sticking to the letter of criminal procedure. This won’t be to the detriment of clients but will demonstrate to the MOJ that we’ve been taken advantage of too long. Our hand has been forced.’
Bill Waddington, Chair of the Criminal Lawyers Solicitors Association commented,
Yesterday’s decision is an indication of the anger and frustration about what the government is doing. The fact that some 500 lawyers holding over 700 legal aid contracts took the trouble to drop everything at very short notice to make their views heard, shows we are at the end of our tether and not prepared to put up with this any longer.
We’ve been trying to persuade the MOJ for 12 months that the approach is both wrong and damaging . They don’t wish to hear what we have to say or if they do hear it, they're not listening .
The work to rule is the start of our campaign to ensure the CPS complies with every requirement and if they don’t, there’ll be more delays and additional costs. We intend to withdraw every act of goodwill which at the moment we provide by the bucket load to keep the system from collapsing . That will now stop .’