Striking barristers – whatever next?

Well yesterday saw barristers on strike over cuts in criminal legal aid. Apparently solicitors were in there too, but being the not-so-visually-interesting part of the profession, the barristers with the wigs and gowns grabbed all the media attention. I’m not sure the pieces would’ve had quite the same impact had the focus been on a worn out duty solicitor with blood shot eyes and a sense of haggard determination having been up all night at the police station.

But anyway, the point is that the legal aid cuts suck. Family legal aid has already been slashed with, not wanting to sound too visual (but being slightly unable to stop myself) it’s heart ripped out.  Being from a family law background, although I have shed loads of sympathy for my criminal practitioner colleagues, it’s the family stuff that makes my blood boil. No longer are parents with limited means able to access advice. Basically it’s pay up and if you can’t, represent yourself. I wonder how many parents, maybe faced with an ex-partner who can afford advice and representation, are having to stumble through the complexities of our legislation and case law in an effort to make their case in court. So much for parity. These cuts are just encouraging greater inequality.

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