England: legal aid boycott may end as practitioners’ groups meet Gove

Justice Secretary Michael Gove

A boycott of legal aid work may end this week as lawyers’ groups prepare to meet the Justice Secretary Michael Gove on Thursday The Law Society Gazette reports.

Thousands of solicitors have boycotted new legal aid work since the beginning of this month after a second fee cut of 8.75 per cent was introduced.

Anti-cut sentiment grew stronger last week after theCriminal Bar Association (CBA) voted in favour of “no returns” as well as no new work.

On Thursday, the CBA, Big Firms Group, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA) will meet Mr Gove.

Jonathan Black, LCCSA president, said: “We welcome this invitation and we hope that this might resolve in a stay, temporary or otherwise, of the current action.”

CLSA vice-chair Robin Murray said: “We hope the threat to access to justice can be averted and further disruption avoided, and we attend in that spirit.”

In a joint last week statement practitioner groups stated they would “work together to persuade the government to suspend the cut, as a matter of urgency, pending a full review”.

At a rally outside Manchester Crown Court, solicitors voted in support of “upping the ante” by possible withdrawing entirely from duty solicitor work.

Another rally outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London is due to take place tomorrow.

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