Statement by LCCSA president Hesham Puri in response to barristers’ ‘no returns’ action

PUBLISHED April 12, 2022

Statement by LCCSA president Hesham Puri in response to barristers’ ‘no returns’ action

This week marks the start of the Bar’s withdrawal of goodwill. The goodwill that normally covers up major cracks in our courts and justice system; that helps to keep criminal cases going; that attempts to bring fair – and, where possible, timely justice to victims and defendants.  From today, our colleagues at the Bar have said enough is enough.

What impact the ‘no returns’ action will have on courts remains to be seen.

So where does this leave us solicitors and our firms.

The Law Society has provided recent guidance that no advocate should be pressured into taking court advocacy work that is outside of a professional’s competence. It’s a matter for each professional themselves to decide whether they will step in.

As an Association, in the interests of justice and a viable future for legal aid, we stand together with our colleagues at the Bar. Their fight is our fight and vice-versa.

Later this month we at the LCCSA are getting together with the CLSA for a training day, stepping away from the daily slog of criminal legal aid. The 15% offer from the government, dressed up as a remedy to nurse the legal aid profession is nothing short of insulting. Be under no illusion, we’re being sold a dud. It’s not in real terms 15%, in fact more like 9%.

It’s not the lifeline needed to rescue our profession from life-support and nurse us back to health.

With defence solicitors leaving, fewer trainees than ever and firms closing, the time for a meaningful prescription for life is now.

We at the Association will publish our own remedy in the coming days that we believe will be required to sustain our profession.

Hesham Puri
President LCCSA