SOLICITORS and barristers may not be turning out to Gloucestershire’s courts tomorrow as a day of action takes place protesting against government cuts to criminal legal aid.
Severe disruption is expected at Gloucester Crown Court and Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court as some advocates opt instead to go to a nationally coordinated training day.
The strikes follow unrest and unhappiness from legal representatives at ongoing cuts and proposed changes to government funding.
The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) sent a note to members, following a meeting with the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, about the proposed action.
It stated: “Ten months after the initial consultation was published it is clear that the Ministry of Justice is not willing to engage constructively with solicitors nor are they willing to meet with a joint delegation of solicitors and barristers to hear the shared concerns of the profession.”
Gloucestershire’s legal professionals are anticipated to travel to Bristol for the training, giving them an opportunity to express their concerns.
Gloucester Crown Court and Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court are understood to be remaining open.
Just one court will sit in the city, compared to the usual two, but disruption is anticipated for defendants and representatives, who decide to sit as normal.
It follows a half day of protests in January this year.
Law Society president Nicholas Fluck said: “The Law Society is against the proposed cuts. This meeting provided an opportunity for our members to voice their concerns directly with the government.”
Chair of the Criminal Bar Association Nigel Lithman QC said: “The purpose of any action must be to show the government the depth of the resolve among the legal profession to speak as one voice. We must show them the value of what they are so willing to destroy.”