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Boycott Action Launched By Defence Lawyers In Courts

A boycott of courts by defence lawyers has been launched, lasting all-day on Monday 17th May. This is in response to what many defence solicitors see as unfair treatment by the Scottish Government over legal aid.

According to the Scottish Solicitors Bar Association, only £2.3million of the Government’s legal aid resilience fund has been paid out, amounting to just 25% of the promised £9million. There is also anger over the fact that only 1 in 3 firms who applied to the fund were accepted. 

In a statement on behalf of defence lawyers taking part in the boycott, the Bar Association said: We have witnessed a significant decline in the number of cases the courts have been able to process during lockdown. Our firms urgently need support to continue practising whilst the pandemic is ongoing…The Scottish government recognised this reality by assigning £9m to a resilience fund for practitioners. There has been a complete failure to properly distribute that fund to firms who desperately need it.”

In a statement, the Scottish Government said that: “We are fully committed to providing support to the profession and are working as a matter of urgency to explore options for distributing unallocated funds from the budget set aside for the resilience fund…the Justice Secretary held talks with the Law Society yesterday, where he confirmed he is committed to ensuring more funds are made available. He is happy to engage with criminal bar associations and discussions with the profession are ongoing.”

Whilst the boycott is underway, all custody cases will be dealt with by a local representative appointed by the SSBA.

 

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