9KBW and the fight to save legal aid
9 KBW did not appear in any Criminal Court on Friday March 7th 2014. On that date our members took the decision that whilst our clients interests are of paramount importance, we would best protect those interests by taking the day to protest the savage and unsupportable cuts that the Ministry of Justice intend to impose upon legal aid services in England and Wales.
These cuts will disadvantage those seeking to defend themselves when facing criminal charges, leaving many unrepresented by either Counsel or Solicitors, because legal aid is refused.
Those seeking to challenge decisions by the Government, or by other public bodies, will find themselves unable to do so as funding will not be available.
The cuts will bring about the closure of many firms of solicitors and leave each County with a very small number of solicitors available to those in large and heavily populated areas. Many in rural areas will be left without representation in their locality and will need to travel substantial distances to see a solicitor.
These cuts will decimate the junior bar and deter graduates from undertaking any form of publicly funded work. We will lose the experience of the senior members of the Bar and the brightest and best in the future will no longer consider undertaking a career in criminal and publicly funded common law..
For those reasons we will be fighting, along with our colleagues at the Bar and members of Solicitor firms up and down the country, to stop these devastating proposals from destroying accessibility to justice for many in this Country.
The denial of legal aid will inevitably result in miscarriages of justice for the innocent and the inability to challenge public bodies where they may be acting unlawfully.
We will fight both for the public and for the survival of our profession so that we can retain the standard of excellence and the unparalleled reputation for a fair hearing in any court, that we have always held so dear.