UK lawyers stage legal aid protest

By James Barnes

23 May 2013 at 11:16 BST

Hundreds of lawyers turned up outside of parliament yesterday to protest against proposals to cut £220 million from the legal aid budget and remove defendants' rights to choose their solicitor.

Lawyers protest outside parliament

According to a report from the Guardian, as many as 500 solicitors and barristers - who fear for their jobs following Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's proposals to reduce the number of 'providers' by 75 per cent - took part in the demonstration in which a coffin marked ‘RIP legal aid’ was carried.


Former solicitor and Labour's justice spokesman Sadiq Khan accused Mr Grayling of destroying legal aid and undermining British justice.
Among those supporting the protest were the Blur drummer David Rowntree, Lady Kennedy, the legal campaigner Clive Stafford-Smith and Gerry Conlon.

Legal contracts

Lady Kennedy commented that the reforms would result in the ‘Americanisation’ of the British system, adding: ‘This plan is about creating public defenders who will be chosen by the state to represent you… How much money is being spent from the public purse on defending this government?’
Many of the protestors displayed placards criticising the legal subsidiary of the haulage firm Eddie Stobart - the only firm to have expressed an interest in the proposed legal contracts.


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