Barristers strike over legal aid cuts

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Criminal barristers in the UK began striking yesterday over cuts to legal aid.

Barristers met with the Lord Chancellor Michael Gove on Thursday to try and find a solution, but none was reached according to The Independent.

The strike follows a boycott by solicitors refusing to take on Crown Court cases after the government introduced an 8.75 per cent fee reduction.  Legal aid has suffered cuts by the previous two governments.

Strikers believe the Government fee reduction will make it impossible for smaller firms to survive.

“Hundreds of solicitors' firms around the country will close down, developing instead into mass justice warehouses, legal aid warehouses, where cases will be packed high and sold cheap,” president of the London Criminal Court Solicitors Association Jonathan Black told Sky News in the UK.

Though criminal defence barristers will not be directly affected by the cuts, striking barristers are showing solidarity with solicitors, who have been on strike since July 1.

“This is really not about our fees, it’s about the wider impact on society,” said Joanne Cecil, barrister at Garden Court Chambers.

“The impact of these cuts to legal aid is not just to defendants, but also victims of crime and witnesses, who have to deal with what is a creaking justice system.”

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