Working class hero leads strike against government legal aid cuts from the tee

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Picket line or round of golf? Picket line or round of golf? That’ll be a round of golf, then …


It ain’t easy being at the forefront of the workers’ struggle. As anyone who has warmed hands over a brazier on a frozen picket line will attest — industrial action is not for the faint hearted.

And here’s Franklin Sinclair tweeting evidence of just how tough it is to battle against the Ministry of Justice’s criminal law legal aid reforms.

Crime specialist lawyers up and down England and Wales have been striking since the beginning of July in a bid to force Justice Secretary Michael Gove to rethink a range of cuts and reforms they maintain will drive many smaller law firms to the wall.

Yesterday Sinclair — the managing partner of one of the country’s largest criminal defence specialist firms, Manchester and London-based Tuckers — tweeted this image of himself making the point about the government’s callous cuts to the members of the Loch Lomond Golf Club.


Now Scotland might not be in the jurisdiction affected by the MoJ’s plans and it’s not likely that club members will ever require legal aid. Annual Loch Lomond membership fees are reported to run to an eye-watering £55,000, and even a single round is understood to cost 600 nicker.

So what is Sinclair playing at, apart from overpriced golf? Well, for starters, he’s clearly daring the club’s crusty ruling elite to act up over his fashionable modern golf clobber. Not even the late Payne Stewart would have dared to match this pink ensemble.

Of course, Gove was born and raised in Scotland, so perhaps Sinclair’s round was a bid to ingratiate himself into the affections of the Lord Chancellor. After all, every Scotsman is given a pair of plus fours at birth.

Or perhaps Sinclair just enjoys livening up what many consider to be a sport with excitement levels tantamount to watching paint dry on a winter’s day. He has, after all, got form.

Here’s our man at Dunham Forest in Cheshire (green fees a much more reasonable £49 on a weekday). Lime helps to camouflage the golfer on the fairways and greens.


And here’s the working class hero at West Lancashire Golf Club (weekday green fees £95 a round). That orange and salmon look really is something to die for.


Meanwhile, back on the picket line (no doubt Sinclair has been in mobile telephone contact from the clubhouse with those at the coalface), the MoJ has already notified some law firms that they have failed to bag legal aid contracts.

The Law Gazette reported yesterday that Whitehall bureaucrats have put their skates on and released disappointing results early — they had been scheduled to alert firms of tendering outcomes next month.


Balderdash Esq.

“excitement levels tantamount to watching paint dry on a winter’s day” – you have clearly never felt the rush of thwacking the golf ball and watching it soar majestically into the rough.



Finally, just the PR the beleaguered criminal lawyers have been begging for.
Hopefully now the public will understand our plight!



He is a complete fool who does not stand for me or I imagine 99.9% of other criminal lawyers.
The prat should golf off!!!!!!


Mr T

You go ‘golf off’ with yo’ no-good whack insults – don’t be takin no goddamn liberties with my main man Franklin… He ain’t no fool – you the fool & I pity yo’ sorry ass!


Franklin Sinclair

Thankfully having reached the grand old age of 57 there’s more to my life than moaning about legal aid and just occasionally I like to enjoy myself by playing golf and dressing up for a bit of fun. Loch Lomond is a beautiful place but also very hospitable and friendly. There are many lawyers on holiday abroad now and I prefer spending my money on golfing days in the UK. This should have no reflection on my role as a lawyer so get a life will you



Hmm, I tend to agree. Many socialist politicians engage, and live, very privileged lifestyles, yet they are still entitled to comment upon austerity. Why should a lawyer who engages in expensive golf pursuits be treated any differently? I’d be interested to see the receipts of anti-austerity MPs; I doubt there are many from Poundland.



When this site focuses on things like ‘I wish I knew then what I know now…’ it’s excellent. When it desperately tries to generate content by making snide comments about pictures on people’s Twitter feeds, it is crap. More power to FS for telling you to sod off.



Franklin – That’s an odd defence you put forward there.Didn’t you go to Venice when the crucial talks with the MOJ commenced? So no stranger to a jaunt abroad yourself .



Franklin I agree totally. I once played with you at Royal Liverpool, and you love your golf. However, try not to get dressed in the dark too often.



Franklin can use his leisure time as he wishes, as we all do, and should not be criticised.


Eugene O'Donnell

Not only does he swing a mean golf club he spins a fine tune or two behind the decks! A more honest down to earth Brief I have yet to meet… go Franklin!


DJ (for dancing)

Agreed; I let him have a go once, a more groovy or funky individual you could not find!



Did he iron those shirts with a wok! !!!
Or did he swallow a space hopper !!!



Anonymous who said ‘The prat should golf off!!’ I suggest you need to take a leaf out of his book and perhaps you’ll be as successful as he is. He has fought tooth and nail for your profession. One day he may allow you to join him on the tee.



Hello Anonymous
As you probably know Anonymous said it.
Your sincerely


Judge John Cack

Eeeee – just look at his funny dress sense! As a ‘working class hero’ he really should have stayed home with his whippets and pigeons. FFS. Can we have another (rubbish) article about Hooray City lawyer types next week?



But there is actually a serious point here – and it is that those who have made super mega bucks from public money have in large part caused this ongoing furious attack on the pay of the ‘average’ (ie. averagely paid) lawyer.
It also relates to the terrible PR criminal lawyers get. The general public are convinced we are all multi millionaires – PR like this absolutely underpins that (wholly wrong) view.


Not Amused

Yes I think that’s right. I also think it’s why legal aid needs to be replaced with a legal NHS with pay rates mirroring doctors. That would protect the juniors while at the same time capping the earnings of lucky individuals who have played the system for gain.



NA, you pompous ass.
“playing the system for gain” im sorry – arewe not all seeking gainful employment, irrespective of funding stream? Simply because the system previously offered greater financial reward than it currently does, don’t criticise those people who benefited. even if its an element of right place, right time, if it were as simply as that there would be far more people in his position.
im not necessarily a fan, but i think being negative about someone who has simply had a successful career is disingenuous, has elements of jealousy and is rather sad because it knocks the wind out of others who may want to be as equally succcessful. Why succeed if you are only going to face sneering accusations to bleeding the system?



No, NA is absolutely right.
There is something extremely wrong with a system that creates millionaires out of some people whilst many other very very hard-working lawyers can barely make ends meet and are also often worked into the ground.
That must mean there is something very seriously wrong with the system (of rewards.)
It may very well be that it is the fault of the government for allowing such an absurd system.
But absurd it is.
And if you sew the wind you reap in the whirlwind – and that is precisely what we are all going through and have been going through re cuts / cuts / cuts – where perversely the lowest paid are even more lowly paid as a result. Injustice upon injustice.
It’s just not right.
And now the entire criminal justice system is under threat .



They are not going to replace legal aid with anything fair, certainly not salaried positions (save for the tiny PDS) or anything costly.
They will let the whole system atrophy until it is intolerably bad, and then they will have to do something. They hope and expect this to be someone else’s problem – the next government, perhaps.
Many criminal lawyers are trapped as the costs of exiting the sector are potentially bankrupting.


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