London SE1 community website

Barristers stage protest outside Southwark Crown Court

London SE1 website team

Lawyers protesting against Government reforms to the legal aid system gathered outside Southwark Crown Court on Monday as barristers staged an unprecedented walk-out by refusing to take part in cases due to be heard that morning.

Barristers stage protest outside Southwark Crown Court
Nigel Lithman QC
Nigel Lithman QC speaking to the press on the steps of the court

The protestors insist that their concern is about access to justice rather than simply the impact of the changes on lawyers' income.

"The protest on Monday is the first in the history of the criminal bar," said Nigel Lithman QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association.

"That it is necessary in order to try and prevent the slide of the Criminal Justice system into chaos and the Criminal Bar into oblivion make it a sad day.

"Those taking the action wish to send a message to the Lord Chancellor that this, along with cuts to their pay, is unacceptable."

Justice secretary Chris Grayling said last week: "This Government is on the side of people who work hard and want to get on in life. We have an excellent tradition of legal aid and one of the best legal professions in the world. But we cannot close our eyes to the fact legal aid is costing too much."

He added: "Even after these reforms, we will still have one of the most generous legal aid systems in the world. I want to ensure the limited money we have is concentrated on those cases and people who need it most."

The SE1 website is supported by people like you
We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

7,000+ locals read it every week. Can you afford to miss out?

Read the latest issue before signing up

News archive from February 1999 to January 2001
Got a story for us?
Contact us with your tip-offs and story ideas.