Barristers take part in Norwich Crown Court walkout in protest over cuts
PUBLISHED: 13:31 06 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:31 06 January 2014
Barristers in Norwich took part in an “unprecedented” walkout today in protest against government cuts, including to legal aid.
Barristers and solicitors in the city joined colleagues from across the country in the action yesterday morning which demonstrated the anger legal professionals felt about the proposed cuts, not only to legal aid but other aspects of the criminal justice system, including the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the court service and probation.
Simon Spence QC, chairman of the East Anglian Bar Mess and spokesman for the Criminal Bar Association, said: “Today is a momentous day. Barristers and solicitors across England ans Wales who care about justice and who are refusing to attend court for the first time in history.”
Mr Spence said that although the country’s system of justice was the “envy of the world” it had become starved of resources with those who practiced in crime being “treated with contempt by government” whose “savage cuts to funding” now put in “jeopardy” the future of the Criminal Justice System.
He said: “We became barristers because we believe in justice. Our system exists to ensure that the guilty are convicted and punished and that the innocent are acquitted. This can only be achieved by ensuring that the system is properly funded.”