Solicitior: “We’re 100 per cent against legal aid cuts”

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A solicitor has said there is 100 per cent opposition to the Government’s planned cuts to legal aid - but didn’t join action against them on Monday.

John Storer, of Criminal Defence Associates, in Boston, said defence firms across the town had decided that missing three hours in the morning would not cause ‘major inconvenience’ to the court.

He said: “The fact that we turned up didn’t mean we didn’t support the action because it was always going to be more effective at the crown court.”

He said there was 100 per cent opposition to the cuts, and said that if they happened he foresaw all the criminal defence firms in Boston closing.

He said a better way to protest was to take official action over the course of several days by not going to police stations or court.

Criminal defence lawyer Neil Sands, said only two solicitors from his firm were in court on Monday morning dealing with ‘urgent cases’, while the rest were ‘doing other things’ and were ‘not available for court’.

It followed a walkout by barristers and solicitors across courts in England and Wales. As they were not permitted to strike, the protest took other forms.

On Monday, Mr Sands said: “The effect is certainly being felt in Lincoln Crown Court.”

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.