Historic legal aid strike gets support of every defence barrister at Bournemouth Crown Court

ACTION: Nick Robinson, front, with legal colleagues, from left, Victoria Hill, Terry Scanlon and James Moore

ACTION: Nick Robinson, front, with legal colleagues, from left, Victoria Hill, Terry Scanlon and James Moore

First published in News by

A HISTORIC strike in protest at planned cuts to legal aid was supported by every defence barrister at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday.

The action, which took place across half a day, is the first of its kind in the UK.

However, both the crown and magistrates’ courts in the town opened as preliminary hearings continued to go ahead, while trials were rescheduled for the afternoon.

British trial lawyers across the country participated in the strike to object to government cuts of up to 30 per cent to legal fees.

Self-employed barrister Nick Robinson said: “Today is a momentous day.

“Barristers and solicitors across England and Wales who care about justice are refusing to attend court for the first time in history.”

Nigel Lithman, chair of the Criminal Bar Association which organised the protest, said it was the first time barristers had withdrawn their labour in the history of a profession dating back to the 15th century.

The proposed reforms, which are due to come into force for trials starting from April onwards, would reduce the legal aid budget to an annual £1.5 billion.

The cuts are just one element of a broad government cost-cutting programme aimed at reducing Britain’s budget deficit.

Mr Robinson said: “Legal aid provision is, like the NHS, part of the welfare state.

“Years ago, people who knew the value of justice in our society designed a system which, like our NHS, meant that if you needed it, the state would provide the best available help at a reasonable cost to the tax-payer.”

He said the public perception of “fat cat lawyers” is mostly a myth.

“There are some who earn very high wages, that can’t be denied,” he said.

“However, most earn much less than people believe, and after overheads and taxes are taken away, the average wage is actually £22,400.”

And more strikes could be on the way.

“If these proposals go through, I could be forced to change a career I chose because I wanted to be part of a system of justice that is the envy of the world,” he said.

“If we are not listened to, there will be more strikes.”

Comments (15)

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1:10pm Thu 9 Jan 14

boyerboy says...

HMMM at least two of the people in the photo are NOT Barristers?
HMMM at least two of the people in the photo are NOT Barristers? boyerboy
  • Score: -2

1:16pm Thu 9 Jan 14

jinglebell says...

Its deeply worrying that legal aid cuts are planned at the same time as a variety of new laws are being slunk in. I totally support the barristers.
Its deeply worrying that legal aid cuts are planned at the same time as a variety of new laws are being slunk in. I totally support the barristers. jinglebell
  • Score: 10

1:49pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Molecatcher says...

If they bring in these cuts it will be a very bad day for access to justice in this country.
If they bring in these cuts it will be a very bad day for access to justice in this country. Molecatcher
  • Score: 10

1:50pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Molecatcher says...

boyerboy wrote:
HMMM at least two of the people in the photo are NOT Barristers?
Do you have a point (apart from the one on the top of your head)?
[quote][p][bold]boyerboy[/bold] wrote: HMMM at least two of the people in the photo are NOT Barristers?[/p][/quote]Do you have a point (apart from the one on the top of your head)? Molecatcher
  • Score: -4

1:50pm Thu 9 Jan 14

muscliffman says...

I believe this cause would have greater public support if it were not for some of the high profile awards of legal-aid to defendants who clearly did not really need it, or (rightly or wrongly) in the opinion of the public did not warrant it.

But it also has to be said that very few of us will have ever seen a qualified lawyer living on the bread-line!
I believe this cause would have greater public support if it were not for some of the high profile awards of legal-aid to defendants who clearly did not really need it, or (rightly or wrongly) in the opinion of the public did not warrant it. But it also has to be said that very few of us will have ever seen a qualified lawyer living on the bread-line! muscliffman
  • Score: 4

1:51pm Thu 9 Jan 14

BournemouthMum says...

Good for them. We don't want a system whereby only the rich can afford a lawyer. We want a system with equal justice for all - and I'm sure I speak for most of the population here. Legal Aid being cut by 30% - and then what, cut to nothing?
Good for them. We don't want a system whereby only the rich can afford a lawyer. We want a system with equal justice for all - and I'm sure I speak for most of the population here. Legal Aid being cut by 30% - and then what, cut to nothing? BournemouthMum
  • Score: 7

1:59pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Molecatcher says...

muscliffman wrote:
I believe this cause would have greater public support if it were not for some of the high profile awards of legal-aid to defendants who clearly did not really need it, or (rightly or wrongly) in the opinion of the public did not warrant it.

But it also has to be said that very few of us will have ever seen a qualified lawyer living on the bread-line!
That didn't take long now did it... Congratulations for playing the 'you never see a qualified lawyer living on the bread line!' card. Clearly you know nothing.
[quote][p][bold]muscliffman[/bold] wrote: I believe this cause would have greater public support if it were not for some of the high profile awards of legal-aid to defendants who clearly did not really need it, or (rightly or wrongly) in the opinion of the public did not warrant it. But it also has to be said that very few of us will have ever seen a qualified lawyer living on the bread-line![/p][/quote]That didn't take long now did it... Congratulations for playing the 'you never see a qualified lawyer living on the bread line!' card. Clearly you know nothing. Molecatcher
  • Score: -1

2:46pm Thu 9 Jan 14

BIGTONE says...

There is a difference in Lawyers and Barristers.
In particular the salary. Dependant on workload/case of an experienced barrister is in the region of £225000-£750000.
I know they charge £1000 per hour including vat excluding expenses.

So in the big scheme of things,if legal aid is slashed so will the clients coming to them to be represented.
Losers all round.
Winners Dave and the posh boys.
There is a difference in Lawyers and Barristers. In particular the salary. Dependant on workload/case of an experienced barrister is in the region of £225000-£750000. I know they charge £1000 per hour including vat excluding expenses. So in the big scheme of things,if legal aid is slashed so will the clients coming to them to be represented. Losers all round. Winners Dave and the posh boys. BIGTONE
  • Score: 1

2:55pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Arthur Maureen says...

This is a classic echo pose, just missing the arms folded bit.
This is a classic echo pose, just missing the arms folded bit. Arthur Maureen
  • Score: -2

8:04pm Thu 9 Jan 14

kalebmoledirt says...

Molecatcher wrote:
If they bring in these cuts it will be a very bad day for access to justice in this country.
But why should justice be so expensive.it,s,a basic right
[quote][p][bold]Molecatcher[/bold] wrote: If they bring in these cuts it will be a very bad day for access to justice in this country.[/p][/quote]But why should justice be so expensive.it,s,a basic right kalebmoledirt
  • Score: 5

8:09pm Thu 9 Jan 14

kalebmoledirt says...

Like greedy football players.they only need an image consultant more than a good tailor
Like greedy football players.they only need an image consultant more than a good tailor kalebmoledirt
  • Score: -8

8:39pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Rob_wimbles says...

Who's the brunette? She's hot
Who's the brunette? She's hot Rob_wimbles
  • Score: -2

9:21pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Rob_wimbles says...

Severely hot even
Severely hot even Rob_wimbles
  • Score: -4

3:57pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Azphreal says...

Yes there have been some legal aid cases that make you think 'How in the hell did they get that' but it is a lifesaver to people who can not afford a lawyer. With all the new rules coming in to make it easier to dismiss staff for any reason we need the ability to fight back when we have been taken for a ride by an employer,company or even a public service.
Yes there have been some legal aid cases that make you think 'How in the hell did they get that' but it is a lifesaver to people who can not afford a lawyer. With all the new rules coming in to make it easier to dismiss staff for any reason we need the ability to fight back when we have been taken for a ride by an employer,company or even a public service. Azphreal
  • Score: 1

1:15pm Sat 11 Jan 14

kalebmoledirt says...

So why do they think they are worth so much?
So why do they think they are worth so much? kalebmoledirt
  • Score: -3

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