Advice for criminal defense lawyers before direct action by lawyers has been published by the Law Society of England and Wales.
In protest at the Justice Department’s actions following the release of the Independent Criminal Legal Aid Review, the Criminal Bar Association voted to institute a “no return” policy.
From Monday 11 April, when the lawyer seized of a case becomes unavailable, for example because of another overflowing case, the lawyers participating in the direct action will refuse to take charge of the case.
“The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and the Law Society are, for different reasons, both of the view that the Department of Justice’s proposals are woefully inadequate to address the crisis in the criminal defense professions,” said said Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce. .
“Criminal law is no longer an attractive career option for young solicitors or barristers. Many who currently practice criminal law will wonder how long they can continue to do so.
“We understand why the lawyers have chosen to take this step. This can impact lawyers, so we’ve published this guide to help them decide what to do if they’re affected.
“In the past, when lawyers have taken direct action, lawyers have been pressured to step in and do advocacy work that they are not qualified to undertake or do not have the capacity to carry out. good.
“These tips are designed to help criminal defense attorneys who may find themselves in this position once again.
“We know that the judiciary will be keen to ensure the proper administration of justice and, particularly with the scale of the current backlogs in the system, will be reluctant to have cases adjourned.
“However, we would like to emphasize that we do not consider that the unavailability of a lawyer – for whatever reason – creates an obligation for a lawyer-attorney of the contracting firm to assume any of the responsibilities of the previously appointed lawyer if he does not feel competent to do so, nor is there any obligation in any new case to take over the plea if an outside lawyer cannot be found.
“Furthermore, in the current circumstances, it will come as no surprise that many lawyers decide independently that they cannot undertake work where they cannot be sure either of finding a lawyer for the case, or that it is economically viable to undertake advocacy in-house.”
Notes to Editors
Read tips on how to undertake advocacy during the Criminal Bar Association’s ‘no return’ action
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