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Defence Solicitors Boycott Magistrates' Court

Tuesday May 28 2013

Barnsley Magistrates' Court Barnsley Magistrates' Court

MORE than a dozen defence solicitors boycotted Barnsley Magistrates' Court on Wednesday in a protest about changes to legal aid it is feared will 'decimate' the criminal justice system.

It is feared the proposals, which introduce competitive tendering for legal aid work, will leave only eight law firms in South Yorkshire to do legal aid cases. At the moment, there are about seven firms in Barnsley alone.

A spokesman for the solicitors in the protest said someone arrested in Barnsley would be allocated a solicitor he or she had never met and who knew nothing about Barnsley.

"Barristers and solicitors are united - the proposals will decimate the criminal justice systems.

"Protests are growing daily as people realise what the consequences of the changes will be."

At Barnsley Magistrates' Court, straightforward cases, featuring a duty defence solicitor, and at least one bail application where a lawyer had become involved with someone locked up the previous evening, went ahead on the day of the protest.

A spokesman for HM Courts and Tribunals Service said it had been 'business as usual' at Barnsley Magistrates' Court.

"There was no reported disruption to the day-to-day business at the court," he said.

The plans by the Lord Chancellor to cut £220m off the legal aid bill will mean state-sponsored solicitors representing people facing criminal charges.

The proposals have led to warnings there will be miscarriages of justice and that the number of law firms in England and Wales will drop from 1,600 to 400.

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Reply Posted by Jayne on Tuesday May 28 2013 at 12:45
Simple solution to this one, keep your head down, get on with your life and don't commit any crimes. Simple

Reply Posted by Dave on Tuesday May 28 2013 at 13:16
Do you think only guilty people end up in court?

Reply Posted by Me on Tuesday May 28 2013 at 13:54
I think legal aid should be for people that realy need not all the little twats what thinks its acceptable to break law everyday

Reply Posted by dawn on Friday May 31 2013 at 18:27
half the solicitor's are criminals there sens.

Reply Posted by Mick on Friday May 31 2013 at 18:30
Answer legal given and if found innocent no repayment needed . If found guilty every penny should be repaid .Either through benefits being stopped. Stopped out of wages and if in prison they should sell off all there possessions until the legal fees are repaid.

Reply Posted by me on Sunday June 2 2013 at 08:17
Are you silly mick? If they stop benefits then they commit further crime to live as they have no money. If they're inside then when they get out they commit further crimes to replace the things they no longer have...

Reply Posted by sid on Sunday June 2 2013 at 08:20
Solution onlly give legal aid for first offence innocent people would be pretty unlucky to end up at court twice lol

ipso Regulated