The direct action reported in Workers in July by criminal lawyers (outside of all the anti-trade union legislation in Britain), which is intended to clog up the criminal legal system in Britain, has now been escalated.
Barristers have joined the boycott of the application for legal aid. More and more cases are being adjourned until they can be processed by duty legal staff.
The Ministry of Justice has put out tentative feelers to try and resolve the dispute, but this is just shadow boxing. No proposals have been put forward either to reverse the cut of 17.5 percent (over a year) in legal aid payments or to put forward alternatives to make the provision of justice transparent and open to all, not just the rich.
Solicitors and barristers are now looking at further escalation of the action. They are clear the ministry’s approach is a body swerve by the government to try to avoid their action bringing down the criminal justice system.
The government is also proposing further reductions in court room facilities, court rooms working round the clock and yet more privatisation of legal services. The reduction in court rooms and premises will take judges and magistrates back to the old concept of travelling judges and assizes – closer to the 18th century than Britain in the 21st century.
Legal professionals and civil service trade unions are combining to resist this return to justice only if you can afford to pay for it.