Strike Two – 7th March 2014

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In the belly of the beast – the Giant papier mache Chris Grayling is refused entry to the MoJ

 

On 7th March 2014 there was the second national strike by Legal Aid lawyers (and yes, it is a strike). After the first one – a half a day on 6th January, we found that actually we can strike without the world ending and therefore, in the face of the MoJ completely ignoring us, we’ve doing it again. There were more people than last year’s demo, I’d reckon about 1,200 (although my pupil, a police officer of 30 years, said 800, so it may be more like 1,600).

The most important question is ‘what next’? My concern has always been that by the time the plan was announced by Grayling, it is too late – at that point it is much, much harder for him to back down. The first cuts come in on 20th March this year. This introduces fee cuts of 8.75%. The average profit margin for a solicitors firm is 6.3% – you do the math(s). How will this end? ‘Badly’ is probably the best answer.

On Monday the CBAs ‘no returns’ policy comes in. If this has widespread support then it has the capability of bringing the Crown Court system to its knees.

Is it enough? I think I am not alone in saying that as the clock is ticking fast, we have to up the ante dramatically. My view would be to announce a 2 (or even 3) day strike starting on 19th March (a Wednesday) to coincide with the fee cuts then.

But I’m sure we will have time over the weekend to digest where we are and where we need to go. Until then, here are a few photos from today for anyone that wasn’t there. Apologies for the quality and the fact that they have been thrown together with no thought or organisation, much like the briefs we all receive on occasions.

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It’s not just about criminal law (and certainly not just about criminal lawyers)

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Look who’s here in support! *swoon*

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Paddy Hill (Birmingham 6) – a man who knows that the price of justice is incalculable

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We’ve on a march to the MoJ building …

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… with a brass band and nearly a thousand lawyers

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swinging by the Supreme Court – where this fight will end up?

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What goes in in the MoJ apparently. I was invited inside (by ‘invited’ I mean nobody stopped me. Until I was asked to leave).

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A police officer complains he is about to be kettled by a bunch of lawyers (not my joke sadly)

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2 thoughts on “Strike Two – 7th March 2014

  1. On the 20th March 2014- Less than 2 weeks- The first phase of the cuts begin- 8.75% for Criminal fees in the Magistrates and police stations .I sincerely belive solicitor firms cannot agree to work at those rates .We should not attend police stations or provide representation in the magistrates court or apply for legal aid for any post 20th March 2014 arrest or prosecution. The result will be major disruption, in police stations,magistrates and cases sent to the crown court. I believe that the MOJ would quickly change its position. No one wants our clients/public to suffer but the MOJ have driven us to this.

    This is not a “strike”. This is not a breach of the Criminal contract. It is simply refusing to work at the new savage rates set arbitrarily by the MOJ. Solicitors firms can pledge- online?- to refuse to work at these new rates. Solicitors firms can pledge not to apply for a Own Client Contract in April 2014. ” Don’t sign Won’t Sign”
    We have to act NOW or we are sleeping walking into oblivion!

  2. Pingback: Silk (Series 3, Episode 3) | UK Criminal Law Blog

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