Manchester prepares for court chaos

By James Barnes

16 May 2013 at 11:03 BST

Greater Manchester's courts could be in disarray next week after more than 200 lawyers agreed to hold demonstrations and meetings over planned justice reforms.

Manchester: planned demonstrations

The solicitors agreed a demonstration outside Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday, which is the day of a Ministry of Justice meeting to debate the issue, followed by a ‘training day on Wednesday. A client awareness day will be held on May 28, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Legal aid

The lawyers are concerned over proposed changes to legal aid, which they claim will undermine the justice system. The proposals may see defendants being unable to choose who represents them when they appear in court.
The plans to recuce the legal aid bill by £220 million a year may also see the number of firms allowed to carry out legal aid work slashed by 75 per cent.

Acces to justice

Sucheet Amin, president of the Manchester Law Society, said: ‘The government has a fundamental duty to provide access to justice for citizens and these proposals contravene that duty.
‘It is also at odds with the government’s previous assertion to support small and medium-sized law firms, when these proposals, which plan to reduce the number of contracts from around 1,600 to just 400, will threaten the survival of most small and medium legal practices.’


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