Dispute not over: Law Society issues fresh warning on ‘fair deal’ for solicitors

The Law Society has responded to today’s settlement of the criminal bar dispute by reminding ministers that the legal aid rates dispute is not over – and by threatening to urge members to shun the work if the government fails to bridge the funding gap between solicitors and barristers.카지노사이트

Criminal barristers will head back to court tomorrow after voting, by a slim majority, to accept the government’s £54m offer.

Lord chancellor and justice secretary Brandon Lewis said he was ‘glad that barristers have agreed to return to work’. However, in its response statement, the solicitors’ representative said the dispute is far from over.

The Law Society has long argued that the government’s reform package represents an overall 9% increase for solicitors.

Of the extra £54m being offered under the deal to the criminal bar, £19m will be earmarked for solicitors and further uplifts will be announced later this year. The Ministry of Justice says solicitors will also benefit from an annual £5m uplift for youth court fees.

However, the Society said the further investment is mainly a one-off and does not raise rates in the long term, so solicitors have well below the 15% increase that barristers are receiving.

Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: ‘The justice minister may think he has got one problem off his table but there are bigger problems coming his way as this dispute continues. This is another example of a government U-turn making a bad situation worse.바카라사이트

Solicitors are the backbone of the crisis-hit criminal justice system. They will see that the government has found a magic money tree to stop the disruptive action of barristers – money that was not available to pay solicitors fairly. Our members will see that disruptive action achieves results that hard evidence and constructive engagement do not.’

The government must find the money to give solicitors parity on the 15% fee increase, Boyce said. ‘If this money can be found to bring a strike to an end, surely it can be found to give a fair deal to solicitors, who have kept the wheels of justice turning despite 25 years without a pay rise. If the gap isn’t bridged by the time the government publishes their full response to the independent review in November, we have made it clear we will advise our members that there is no viable future in criminal legal aid work.’

She added: ‘This mounting permanent exodus of solicitors from the criminal defence profession won’t cause temporary problems for the criminal justice system, it will bring it to its knees altogether. Unless the government sees sense on its short-sighted approach to criminal justice, victims and defendants will continue to suffer, the backlog will continue to build and trust in the system will erode further.’

Solicitors will discuss their options at a Criminal Law Solicitors Association conference on Friday.온라인카지노

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