Criminal defence lawyers only dealing with ‘urgent cases’

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Criminal defence lawyers are only dealing with ‘urgent’ court cases in Boston this morning (Monday) as part of action against legal cuts.

Neil Sands, of Criminal Defence Associates, said only two solicitors were in courts this morning dealing with ‘emergency cases’, including one at Boston, while the rest of the employees were ‘doing other things’ and were ‘not available for court’.

It follows a walkout by barristers and solicitors across criminal courts in England and Wales in a dispute over planned government cuts to legal aid fees.

As solicitors and barristers are not permitted to strike, the protest is taking other forms.

Mr Sands said: “The effect is certainly being felt in Lincoln Crown Court. Everything is being shunted to about 2pm.

“Nobody’s being left in the lurch, but nothing substantial is being completed in the courts this morning.”

He said the Government is looking at cutting 30 per cent off 1996 rates of pay, and that one solicitor who had been in the industry since 1978 had figured out he would have been paid more at the start of his career than under the proposals.

Mr Sands said the expectation was that 75 per cent of barristers and solicitors would take part in action against the cuts across the country.