Friday, March 30, 2018

Lawyers to strike

Barristers are to go on strike over "relentless" cuts which have left the criminal justice system "broken".
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which represents criminal lawyers in England and Wales, is advising its members take part in "days of action". It also recommends its members refuse all legal aid cases from 1 April when a new fees system comes into force.
Angela Rafferty QC, chair of the CBA, said underfunding meant the poor and vulnerable were "being denied access to justice", members of the public were "at risk of miscarriages of justice" and the faith of the public in the jury system was being undermined by "the chaos in courts".
She said a lack of investment meant cases were not being properly investigated by the police and CPS, there was uncertainty and delay at court and "unnecessary distress" for witnesses, victims and defendants.  She said the recent disclosure crisis, which led to the collapse of a number of rape trials last year, also highlighted "the appalling state of our system". She said the Ministry of Justice's "already meagre and inadequate" budget would be reduced by £600m by 2019/20.
"In 2016, the Public Accounts Committee warned that the criminal justice system was close to breaking point. It is now broken," she added.

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