Lawyers in Sheffield down wigs and gowns for morning

Barristers and solicitors protest outside Sheffield Crown Court
Barristers and solicitors protest outside Sheffield Crown Court

Barristers in Sheffield are planning to walk out of court in protest at government cuts to the criminal justice system.

The ‘non attendance protest’ will take place at 9.30am on Monday - the first day of the new court term - when lawyers will be protesting outside Sheffield Crown Court.

They are angry at Government plans to cut fees paid to barristers for their services by up to 30 per cent.

They want justice secretary Chris Grayling to rethink proposals aimed at saving £220 million a year which they say will destroy the criminal justice system and risk inadequate, cut-price legal advice being given to those whose liberty is at stake.

The Criminal Bar Association protest is part of a national, coordinated day of action by barristers who work at courts up and down the country. It could mean a morning of criminal proceedings being delayed, at great public expense.
The barristers are being supported by legal aid solicitors, who represent defendants at police stations and at court, meaning proceedings in the magistrates’ courts could also be affected.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world. Just like many hard-pressed families and businesses, we have no choice but to make savings. Any disruption to court business is unnecessary, and lawyers choosing to do so inconvenience their clients and hard-working taxpayers. We will take all steps possible to minimise the upset for victims, witnesses and other court users.”