Mansfield Chambers Publish Press Release In Response To CBA Decision
Press Release – 18.06.15
Mansfield (Crime) Chambers is disappointed with the decision of the CBA executive and calls on all members to demand an Extraordinary General Meeting and vote for direct action. It is imperative that the Bar sends a clear signal to the government that the criminal justice system will not survive further cuts.
When asked about the current situation Michael Mansfield QC said:
"It is time for Barristers to make a stand and strike. Most people are now unable to fight their corner because of the legal aid cuts and the risk of innocent people being convicted is more apparent now than ever before. If the lawyers don’t stand up now the government will decimate legal welfare completely and will ultimately lead to the collapse of an effective and fair criminal justice system. Including the very existence of an independent and committed public service profession able to challenge the excesses of successive overweening Governments.”
Notes to editors
i. The Executive Committee of the Criminal Bar Association last night voted by 34 to 11 against taking any action on dual contracts or cuts to litigators fees. Amongst the criminal bar the view had been widely held that dual contracts and LGFS cuts would be fatal as solicitors' firms compensated for a loss of income by taking advocacy work in house. That view was endorsed by a ballot of the CBA's membership in which 96% of participants voted in favour of direct action in the event of the government coninuing with dual contracts.
ii. The policy of dual contracts has now been confirmed by the government. The CBA at its committee meeting last night refused to take action, citing instead a desire to continue negotiating with the government over the quality of higher court advocacy. The decision of the CBA committee has been described by insiders as "naïve" and "like trading the family cow for a handful of magic beans".
iii. The decision of the CBA will come as a shock to members of the bar who had expected their representatives to endorse the mandate for action given by their membership. It amounts to a considerable U-turn for a leadership which only last month was claiming to be prepared to engage in direct action. Many are now questioning whether that apparent preparedness to fight was in fact genuine.
iv. Members of the CBA wishing to contribute to the call for an EGM can email their support to [email protected] The text of the call for an EGM can be found at: https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://www.haldane.org/storage/Call+for+Signatures+for+Extraordinary+General+Meeting.pdf.
Mansfield Chambers was founded by Michael Mansfield QC to combat the ever increasing cuts to legal aid and enhance access to justice for the poor. The ethos of chambers is to promote equality and diversity within the law and champion the vulnerable. We fearlessly seek to expose injustice both at home and abroad and when there have been failings by the establishment to hold it to account. We are not a law factory. We are a steel fist in a velvet glove.
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