The crisis is deepening in the criminal justice system

Following the announcement that lawyers have voted to step up their legal aid action from September 5, the Law Society warns that lawyers will continue to vote with their feet to leave the legal profession. criminal defense unless more investment is planned.

“Lawyers share lawyers’ concerns about the collapse of the criminal justice system,” said Lubna Shuja, vice-president of the Law Society of England and Wales.

“Lawyers face the same pressures as lawyers, but many are limited in what they can do because of their professional obligations to their clients and their legal aid contracts.

“While lawyers vote to step up their direct action, notaries continue to vote with their feet by leaving the profession altogether. Many see no future in criminal defense work, following the Justice Department’s failure to fully implement the minimum fee increases recommended by Lord Bellamy QC.

“The number of lawyers and firms doing criminal legal aid work continues to decline at a time when the criminal defense profession is needed more than ever to tackle the huge backlog of cases before the Crown Court.

“Meanwhile, duty counsel schemes in places like Barnstaple and Skegness are collapsing, meaning those arrested may not be able to get advice at the police station to which they are legally entitled. right to have. This would have serious negative consequences for the fairness of any subsequent trial if they are charged.

“Victims and defendants are having to wait far too long for justice, with reports from our members on cases in parts of the country now scheduled to be heard in 2024.

“There is an urgent need to invest more in all sectors of the criminal justice system to prevent its collapse and ensure justice for all.

“Our members are not on strike but are leaving altogether and action must be taken now before it is too late to reverse the tide of lawyers and companies quitting criminal defense work.”

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body working globally to support and represent lawyers, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Nick Mayo | 020 8049 4100