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Tag Archive | "criminal bar association"

Reforming the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme

The MoJ has published a consultation paper on a modernised advocates’ graduated fee scheme (AGFS). The scheme, which was last reformed in 2007, pays criminal defence advocates legal aid for representing those accused of crimes in the Crown court.

Introducing the new proposals, justice minister Sir Oliver Heald said: “Our current payment system does not focus enough on the skilled advocacy that barristers and solicitor advocates demonstrate in the Crown Court. I want to change that. The measures in this consultation package, developed with the assistance of representatives from across the legal profession, set out a simpler, fairer and more modern alternative.” Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal Aid, Legal ITComments (0)

The Horns of a Dilemma

Criminal legal aid solicitors are at risk of breaching regulatory requirements whatever they do.

On one hand they are having to deal with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is reminding them of their professional obligations while they are involved in their ‘difficult commercial dispute.’ Read the full story

Posted in Criminal JusticeComments (0)

News from the front

On the second day of nationwide protests against new contracts and fee cuts it was announced that criminal solicitors voted overwhelmingly in favour of individual direct action over the government’s legal aid cuts. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (1)

Liverpool lawyers defy bar chiefs

Barristers and solicitors in Merseyside yesterday agreed to forgo work in opposition to legal aid cuts due to be implemented next week

After a meeting involving over 100 barristers and solicitors in Merseyside, representing every chambers in the city and the vast majority of solicitors, individual firms said that they would not undertake any legal aid work under the rates introduced on Wednesday 1 July. The move could bring criminal courts in the north-west to a grinding halt within days. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Criminal Bar Association vote for direct action

The election results will have brought little joy to legal aid and criminal lawyers.

Although none of the parties, other than the Greens, had promised to reverse all the £600m of legal aid cuts inflicted by the coalition government, Labour had pledged to halt the deeply unpopular tendering process for duty solicitors covering police stations and magistrates courts, as well as reviewing a scheduled 8.75% cut in the fees they receive. The party also indicated it would improve access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence and overturn restrictions on judicial review. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal JusticeComments (0)

Lawyers walk out in half-day protest

Crown and magistrates courts across England and Wales were affected on Monday morning as criminal barristers and solicitors walked out in protest over government plans to cut legal aid.

The largest demonstration, numbering around 300, took place outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Other protests were held outside London’s Old Bailey – where 10 new trials and six ongoing trials were disrupted, including a murder case, a hearing involving an alleged sex ring and the phone-hacking trial – and Southwark Crown Court, as well as outside Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Chelmsford and Cardiff Crown courts. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Not an Epiphany

Criminal barristers will stay away from court on 6 January in protest over cuts to criminal legal aid, the Criminal Bar Association has confirmed.

The CBA has hit out against a ‘misleading, cynical and underhand’ list of barristers’ names sent by the Legal Aid Agency to solicitors looking for counsel to undertake very high cost cases (VHCC). Read the full story

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The Attorney General’s warning

The Annual Bar Conference 2013 was held at the Westminster Park Plaza, London, last weekend, and the ‘Law Gazette’ reported on the proceedings.

In his capacity as head of the bar, Attorney General Dominic Grieve, QC addressed the conference. He expressed sympathy with many of the bar’s current concerns. He said he understands the difficulties faced by the bar over very high cost cases (VHCC) for which, from this month, fees paid will be cut by 30%. He agreed that the fee cuts will not encourage the best students to come to the bar in the future. He said: “There is a serious issue of whether the bar will be attractive.” Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal AidComments (0)

Barristers ready to take direct action

There is much talk of strikes in the air at the moment, with wide and varied organisations planning to take industrial action on 30 November. In a different context it now looks as if they could be emulated by barristers.

As reported in the ‘Law Gazette’, the new chair of the Criminal Bar Association, Max Hill, has warned that criminal barristers will take direct action, including withdrawing their services, if the government presses ahead with its plans for price-competitive tendering. He told the Bar Council’s recent annual conference that Read the full story

Posted in Criminal JusticeComments (0)

Very High Cost Cases

Very high cost cases (VHCCs) are those estimated to last more than 40 days at trial, or 25 days if involving complicated combinations of factors. Last year there were about 400 defendants funded by legal aid in 100 VHCC criminal cases at a total cost of £100 million. Read the full story

Posted in Legal AidComments (0)

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