BARRISTERS ‘WORK TO RULE’ ON NEW CASES OVER LEGAL AID CUTS

Laganside Court houseBARRISTERS in Northern Ireland have withdrawn from all fresh legal aid funded criminal cases in protest against new cuts to payments.

The Criminal Bar Association said it was taking the move – described by some members as a form of ‘work to rule’ – “with deep regret”.

Barristers will continue with cases that began before the rules came into effect earlier this month.

But they will not take on any new work under proposed changes to legal aid announced by Justice Minster David Ford.

Last week KRW –┬áKevin Winters & Company – said it was withdrawing from new cases in protest at the cuts.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, the Criminal Bar Association, which represents independent barristers, said it was “committed to providing the highest standard of representation to those members of society who face the most serious and complex criminal cases in the Crown Court”.

It said those standards “cannot be achieved under these amended rules”, saying the cuts were substantial and unjustified”.

Chairman Gavan Duffy said: “Whilst the Criminal Bar Association recognises the financial restriction occasioned by pressure on public spending, these latest proposals represent cuts of almost 50% from levels previously set by the Department of Justice in 2005.

“These rules will inevitably dilute the quality of representation available to some of the most vulnerable members of society and to the victims of crime.”

 

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