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Legal aid row: ‘Go back to the drawing board’, Labour tells government ahead of today’s Commons debate

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Over 100 chambers now refusing to take on new legal aid cases

The Shadow Justice Secretary, Richard Burgon, has urged the government to rethink controversial changes to criminal legal aid ahead of this afternoon’s House of Commons debate. In a recently-released statement, Burgon told the government to “go back to the drawing board and come up with a scheme that attracts widespread support rather than provoking a backlash”.

The plea comes after Criminal Bar Association (CBA) members voted overwhelming in favour of refusing new publicly-funded cases from 1 April.

This walkout is in response to the government’s changes to the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS), which it’s understood will result in further cuts to legal aid lawyers’ income. There are now over 100 chambers involved in the quasi-strike action, and Legal Cheek was told last week that the Executive Committee recently met to consider recommending the action be escalated.

The 2018 Chambers Most List

Ex-trade union lawyer Burgon continued:

“Our justice system depends on those accused of serious crimes having access to proper legal representation. Without that there is greater risk of miscarriages of justice. This flawed scheme risks causing further damage to our justice system which is already in a crisis driven by 40% budget cuts — the deepest cuts of any government department.”

MPs are due to convene in the House of Commons today to discuss the impending changes to criminal legal aid. So far over 130 MPs have signed a motion calling on the government to scrap the proposals.

Prior to this afternoon’s debate, MPs will be invited to pick up (and hopefully read) their free copy of The Secret Barrister’s new book: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken. The book — which shines a light on the problems affecting the criminal justice system — is available to MPs gratis following a successful crowdfunding campaign which raised over £13,000.

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14 Comments

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

Racist.

Not

“Playing with race”.

There’s a difference.

Race based humour is OK when it’s on the terms of those being sent up eg Sketchtopia on Radio 4, but this isn’t it.

I’d say don’t delete it but debate it, argue it and smash it.

Corbyn. Symphathiser

No. No platform for racists.

I’m glad that LC deleted that comment on its own merits (if such they can be called), and I expect they’re also concerned that their legal gossip website isn’t seen as a festering hive for the far-right.

Trumpenkreig

Richard… that was his name. I always called him Dickie though, obviously. Dickie, if you’re out there, I’m here and I miss you.

An objective observer

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

I see Joly-boy got the comments switched off on the article about him after some mildly critical remarks.

I await Legal Cheek’s grovelling apology and correction like last time…

A trust fund with a trust fund

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

Where I grew up, a “Jolly-on” was a slang term for an erection.

Jolyon Maugham QC

My name isn’t spelled “Jolly On”.

My name isn’t pronounced “Jolly On”.

Therefore, your puerile attempt at humour fails.

Anonymous

Is there a moderator here? Please remove the first post.

Anonymous

Personally, I’d rather visit the fishmonger.

Anonymous

Hmm… nope…

I still don’t get it.

Curious George

There seem to be four points of view on race-based humour:

1. It’s racist therefore always wrong.

2. It’s OK provided it is done in good humour on the terms of those being sent up (eg Goodness Gracious Me).

3. It’s OK provided it is done by a BAME person (eg Omid Djalili).

4. Race based humour is always OK. To say otherwise is political correctness gone mad.

Which view do you subscribe to, and why?

Answers on a postcard…

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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