Legal Aid Boycott Delays Criminal Justice

Increasing boycott by barristers for reducing Criminal Justice budgets are slowing down the entire legal sector. Barristers protesting against the lower legal aid fees and the restructuring of their jobs have urged others to boycott the system.

The Public Defender Service (PDS) was deployed to provide emergency cover in case lawyers refused to provide representation. However, it only has 30 directly employed barristers, which may not be enough to handle the situation.

Cases have been piling up in custody suites and interview rooms according to South Yorkshire Police and other police forces.

Solicitors are protesting against the 17.5% cuts in legal aid fees. They claim that their actions have now caused a significant impact. However, the Ministry of Justice denies that their activities are causing serious disruption.

The refusal of duty began on July 1 after the Defence Solicitor Call Centre, which allocates cases, is in a state of chaos.

According to Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA) Chair Bill Waddington:

“Cases are backing up in the police stations because they can’t find lawyers to represent suspects. It’s absolute chaos in the DSCC because they can’t give out cases [to lawyers]. Many people are being bailed by police because officers know they can’t find anyone to take on cases.”